Cebu town mayor changes mind, to close cemeteries during ‘kalag-kalag’ | Inquirer News
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Cebu town mayor changes mind, to close cemeteries during ‘kalag-kalag’

/ 05:00 AM October 30, 2021

CEBU CITY — A day after announcing that all five cemeteries in his town would be opened on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, a town mayor on Camotes Islands in Cebu province has decided to toe the line and follow the directive of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Mayor Manuel Santiago of Pilar town declared on Friday that he would comply with the DILG order to close down the cemeteries in the town during the “kalag-kalag” (Nov. 1 and Nov. 2) commemoration, saying he changed his mind after talking to the police.

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“I was told that my executive order to open our cemeteries on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 is incorrect,” he told the Inquirer over the phone.

“Our higher-ups [in the DILG] have spoken, and I acknowledge that I was wrong. I don’t have any problem with that, and so I’ll have to correct the mistake,” he added.

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Santiago said he would issue another executive order to amend his prior directive.

He said his earlier decision to open the cemeteries in Pilar was based on the statement of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia who gave mayors the discretion to decide whether or not they would open their public cemeteries during kalag-kalag.

He said he wanted to open the town’s cemeteries during kalag-kalag to give people who came from other places in the Visayas and Mindanao a chance to visit the graves of their loved ones in the town.

“I know most of them come here once a year only to visit and remember their deceased family members, relatives and friends,” Santiago said.

The DILG has ordered all local governments across the country to close all public and private cemeteries from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 to avoid crowding and prevent another surge in COVID-19 cases.

Millions of Filipinos traditionally visit the graves of their departed loved ones in cemeteries on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 to offer flowers, candles, and prayers.

Like Santiago, Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama also earlier announced to open all cemeteries in the city during kalag-kalag but decided to cancel it in compliance with the DILG’s order. —REPORTS FROM NESTLE SEMILLA AND ADOR VINCENT MAYOL

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