Pray, don’t play during Kalagkalag, says church exec

A CHURCH official in Cebu has urged the faithful to pray for both the living and the dead during this year’s All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days rather than spending it on vacation mode.

Msgr. Joseph Tan, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cebu, told SunStar Cebu that the two-day observance should serve as an opportunity to pray for those who have died, especially for the souls who remained in Purgatory.

Tan said that while he understands that some would use the long weekend as an opportunity to go on vacation, he urged Catholics to instead pray and use it to reminisce their dead loved ones.

“But wherever you are, even if you are visiting the cemeteries, please do not forget to pray for the souls of the dead and our families. Offer them the gift of love and prayers,” he added.

Avoid crowds

In a statement posted on its official Facebook page, the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH 7) has urged the public to prioritize safety by planning their visits to cemeteries during this year’s two-day observance.

DOH 7 Director Jaime Bernadas said the public should visit cemeteries early to avoid overcrowding.

He discouraged bringing children, especially infants; senior citizens and persons with disabilities as they at a high risk of getting exposed to many possible diseases, not just Covid-19.

Instead, Bernadas urged vulnerable individuals to visit churches and pray.

“Also, if you are feeling unwell [like having] coughs, colds, fever and other symptoms [of Covid-19], it is best to just stay at home to spare others from getting infected,” he added.

He also urged people to ensure the food they bring to cemeteries is always fresh and prevent it from getting exposed to insects as this could be another reason for getting sick.

Data from the DOH 7 revealed that as of Oct. 15, Central Visayas had 510 new but mild cases of Covid-19 and 11 deaths.

Considering Covid-19 is still around, Bernadas reminded people not to forget their face masks, umbrellas, raincoats, and other protective gear.

Lapu-Lapu City

Meanwhile, a total of 457 security personnel have been deployed in public and private cemeteries in Lapu-Lapu City to ensure safety amid the observance of this year’s All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Judith Besas of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Public Information Office told SunStar Cebu that 220 of them are police officers, while 237 are force multipliers (civilian volunteers) composed of members of the Barangay Peacemaking Action Team and Barangay Peace and Security Officers.

Besas said personnel from the Philippine Red Cross and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office are also on standby within the vicinity of the three public cemeteries and two private cemeteries in the city.

Besas said security personnel will remain in the cemeteries until Thursday, Nov. 3.

The public cemeteries in the city are the Catholic cemetery in Humayhumay in Barangay Gun-ob; municipal cemetery in Sitio Tugas, Barangay Gun-ob; and Sta. Rosa Cemetery in Barangay Sta. Rosa in Olango Island.

The private cemeteries are the Mactan Island Memorial Garden in Barangay Marigondon and Heaven of Peace Memorial Garden in Soong, Barangay Mactan.

Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan earlier issued Executive Order 2022-50 that established guidelines in observance of Kalagkalag, wherein he ordered the owner, manager, or administrator of all public and private cemeteries and memorial parks to ensure the observance and strict compliance of the wearing of face masks for those who entering the premises from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2. (HIC, MKG)