MANILA, Philippines – Even wakes, which are customary overnight vigils in the country, are banned under the lockdown to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, Philippine National Police (PNP) Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar said on Tuesday, March 24.
“There are no more wakes, just the burials, because that (wake) is a mass gathering,” Eleazar said during the government-organized Laging Handa press briefing, adding that the ban applies regardless if the death is coronavirus-related.
Eleazar is the leader of the Joint Task Force Coronavirus Shield, the temporary group of top police, military, and Coast Guard officials assigned to oversee the implementation of guidelines issued by the national government to stem the spread of the virus. (READ: LIST: Who are allowed out during Luzon lockdown?)
It is a Filipino tradition for crowds of mourners to gather in overnight vigils before burying the remains of departed loved ones.
“We know that we have a culture. We have our religion. But the situation now is different,” Eleazar said.
Still, religious leaders who will administer the burial rites should be allowed by cops to travel from their homes, Eleazar said.
The reminder comes a week after President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island region of Luzon on lockdown or what they call the “enhanced community quarantine“, which banned mass gatherings, restricted travel, and ordered people to stay home unless they are procuring needs. – Rappler.com