‘NO VAX, NO ENTRY’: City Hall, Capitol to impose vaccination mandate in cemeteries for ‘Undas’

Only persons vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to visit their departed loved ones in cemeteries in Iloilo City and province on Nov. 1-2, 2022. (Arnold Almacen file photo)

By John Noel E. Herrera

The Iloilo City Government will only allow individuals who are partially or fully vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to enter cemeteries and memorial parks in observance of the “Undas” or All Saints’ and All Souls’ days on Nov 1 and 2, 2022, as a measure to protect residents against COVID-19.

Full vaccination means the person has been administered the second dose in a 2-dose series or a single-dose vaccine.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas earlier issued Executive Order 085, series of 2022, laying out health and public order protocols for the observance of Undas in the city.

The EO stated that starting Oct 31 until 11:59 pm of Nov 2, city teams will be stationed at the entrances of cemeteries to check the vaccination cards and valid identification cards of visitors.

Minors will also be required to present vaccination cards and must be accompanied by vaccinated adults.

The EO also prohibits overnight visits and bans vehicles, flammable materials, liquors, firearms and other deadly weapons, speakers, videoke machines, and playing cards.

“There are 16 cemeteries, both public and private in the city. So we will establish a deployment plan together with the Philippine National Police, Iloilo City Public Safety and Traffic Management Office (PSTMO) to check on our cemeteries if they observe guidelines,” PSTMO head Jeck Conlu said.

Conlu added that the policy has not changed for unvaccinated people who face limited movements in terms of travel, but the task force will try to monitor them so they will get protected.

The city government also assigned areas for flower vendors at Rizal and Osmena Streets in Arevalo district; M.H. del Pilar Street in Molo; Onate Street in Mandurriao; Iznart, Aldeguer, and Rizal streets in City Proper, and outside of the perimeter of Jaro Plaza in Jaro District.

Flower vendors also need to secure permits before they can put up their stalls on Oct 28 and start selling the next day.

Task Force Undas will also be deployed on Oct 29 until Nov 2, 2022.

Meanwhile, the Iloilo Provincial Government will also implement a similar policy, but they will only allow fully vaccinated persons to enter cemeteries and memorial parks.

Under Executive Order (EO) No. 260-H-2022 which extended COVID-19 Alert Level 1 to Oct 31, 2022, all cemeteries and memorial parks in the province should be open during ‘Piesta Minatay’ but visitors must be fully vaccinated and observe minimum public health protocols.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. also said that people who want to visit their departed loved ones should present their vaccination cards before entering the cemeteries.

Defensor added that those who are unvaccinated and only partially vaccinated can still go to cemeteries in advance, citing that mass gatherings in observance of “Undas” mostly start on Nov 1.