Cops deployed to keep cemeteries empty for 7 days

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    ALL is quiet for the next seven days in the places where our loved ones sleep in peace.

    Yesterday, all cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria throughout the country were closed to the public in compliance with government directives to seal them off to prevent the influx of people visiting their departed loved ones on All Saints and All Souls Days.

    The closure will be until November 4.

    Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said no untoward incident has been monitored in any of the cordoned areas as of around 4 p.m. Thursday.

    Eleazar, who is also the PNP’s deputy chief for administration, said a total of 15,629 police were tasked to secure cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria while 4,958 others were deployed as road safety marshals. He said 2,967 police assistance desk were also set up.

    “We also have a total of 26,478 force multipliers who will assist our PNP personnel. These force multipliers are mostly barangay tanods and the personnel of the City and Municipal Public Order and Safety,” said Eleazar.

    Eleazar said the policemen and the force multipliers have been directed “to ensure that no person would be allowed to enter the cemeteries, memorial parks and columbaria from October 29 to November 4.”

    He said they will also ensure “peace and order and (the) observation of minimum health safety standard protocols when these areas re-open on November 5.”

    The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) issued a resolution ordering the closure of cemeteries, memorial parks, columbaria and similar places from October 29 to November 4 to prevent a possible mass transmission of the coronavirus when people flock to the areas for the annual celebration of the All Saints and All Souls Days.

    Burial and interment are allowed during the period, subject to health protocols.

    With All Souls’ Day just days away, the Archdiocese of Manila has issued a prayer that can be used by the faithful in praying for their departed loved ones, whether at home or in cemeteries.

    In a Facebook post, the Archdiocese of Manila disclosed that its Liturgical Commission has released the “Family Prayer for the Faithful Departed”.

    When at home, the Manila Archdiocese said the prayer can be prayed by families in front of the altar with a crucifix and a lighted candle as well as pictures of departed loved ones.

    “The head of the family may serve as prayer leader, other members of the family may serve as readers,” said the Manila Archdiocese.

    It said that the prayer may also be used during a visit to the cemetery or columbarium when already permitted by quarantine protocols.

    “The head of the family may sprinkle holy water on the tomb of the deceased after the Concluding Prayer,” said the Manila Archdiocese.

    Earlier this month, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), through its Media Office, revived its “Undas” website to allow Filipinos to request prayers and Mass offerings for their departed loved ones ahead of the All Souls’ Day.

    CBCP Media Office Director Msgr Pedro Quitorio said the nine-year old portal (http://undasonline.com/ph/) has some new features.

    “There will be live online Masses that will be streamed from different places,” Quitorio told CBCP News, adding: “One can even light a candle online while praying for their dear departed.”

    Quitorio said it also features audio and video reflections and catechesis related to All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days. – With Gerard Naval