Cagayan De Oro City

Except for families burying dead, Cagayan de Oro cemeteries closed till mid-June

Bobby Lagsa
Except for families burying dead, Cagayan de Oro cemeteries closed till mid-June

CHRIST. A statue of Christ the Redeemer inside one of Cagayan de Oro's memorial parks.

Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Death anniversary gatherings, 9-day and 40-day novenas, and other events are prohibited

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno on Saturday, June 5, ordered all cemeteries in the city closed to the public until the middle of June as another measure to prevent more COVID-19 transmissions.

The only exception is for interments, which can be attended only by family members of the dead. Attendees must show proof that they are related to the deceased. Death anniversary gatherings, 9-day and 40-day novenas, and other events are prohibited.

The ban will last until June 15, the final day of Cagayan de Oro’s 15-day modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The order came as the number of active COVID-19 cases in the city rose to 1,466 on Saturday.

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Strict enforcement

Engineer Armen Cuenca, head of the city hall group handling the dead, said that barangay chairpersons have been instructed to send village watchmen to monitor cemeteries and strictly enforce the order.

Cuenca said that one challenge is how to handle communities near the city’s biggest public cemetery in Bolonsirim, Barangay Camaman-an. An area within the Bolonsiri property, for instance, was turned into a relocation site for survivors of tropical storm Sendong (Washi) in 2011.

“It’s difficult, but we will manage. Our personnel know who the residents are,” Cuenca said.

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Funerals and wakes were identified as COVID-19 “superspreaders” in Cagayan de Oro, which has seen a sharp increase in infections since May. 

Other factors for the increase were picnics and other outdoor recreational activities within or outside the city, and birthday parties and weddings, said city epidemiologist Dr. Teodulfo Joselito Retuya Jr.

City hall earlier prohibited such gatherings, and had limited wake crowds to five people for every viewing. – Rappler.com