Davao City cemeteries will now open for ‘Undas’ | Inquirer News

Davao City cemeteries will now open for ‘Undas’

/ 04:45 AM October 11, 2022

WATCHFUL EYE A police auxiliary guards a section of Wireless Cemetery in Davao City during the All Souls’ Day commemoration in 2021 to ensure no one will violate the ban on entry to memorial parks due to the surging cases of COVID-19 that time. —BING GONZALES

WATCHFUL EYE | A police auxiliary guards a section of Wireless Cemetery in Davao City during the All Souls’ Day commemoration in 2021 to ensure no one will violate the ban on entry to memorial parks due to the surging cases of COVID-19 that time. —BING GONZALES

DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — For the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, families of the departed will finally get to visit the cemeteries in this city to commemorate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day next month, in keeping with the Filipinos’ tradition of remembering the dead.

Angel Sumagaysay, head of the city’s public safety and security office, said that security and health preparations had already started as early as Friday, Oct. 7, for the expected influx of crowds in cemeteries during the celebration of “Undas” on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, or All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days, respectively, both important religious days for Catholics worldwide.

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“There will be no closure of cemeteries this year as Davao City remains under alert level 1,” Sumagaysay said.

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“We are all ready for undas. All systems go for Undas 2022 for the Davao City security and safety cluster,” he added.

Optional masking

He said both the security and safety plan for Oplan KalagKalag (Undas) had been finished and that security personnel are now ready for their assignments in the 35 cemeteries in the city.

“We’ve already finished doing our security and safety preparations. Our personnel are now ready for deployment,” he added.

In the last two years when COVID-19 cases raged in the city after the pandemic struck in March 2020, the local government closed down all cemeteries during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

The city also banned trick or treat for Halloween, a Western practice of holding ghoulish parties and of costumed children roaming their neighborhood streets to ask for candies on the eve of All Saints’ Day, and other crowd-drawing activities related to the celebration.

But even as these events will now be allowed, the City Health Office asked the public to continue to observe minimum health protocols.

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Like other localities across the country, Davao City now allows the optional use of face masks in open-air settings.

Low caseload

As of Oct. 3, the healthcare utilization rate of hospitals in the Davao region remained at 38.4 percent for non-intensive care unit beds and 43.8 percent for intensive care unit beds, the Department of Health (DOH) in the region reported.

The figures were considered low compared to the 90-percent to 100-percent utilization rate at the height of the pandemic.

Of the 473 COVID-19 cases still admitted in the region’s hospitals, only 67 were considered severe and critical.

The DOH also reported that 3.31 million individuals were already vaccinated, or 87.2 percent of the target population in the region.

For the entire week, the Davao region reported 789 new cases, a 16.5-percent increase from the reported cases in the previous week, which covered the period from Sept. 19 to Sept. 25. The DOH also recorded 11 deaths for the week.

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