February 9, 2023

The Benguet Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force has adopted a policy limiting the conduct of funerals to three days in consonance to the public health protocols due to surge in Covid-19 cases.

In an advisory dated March 29, IATF chair and Gov. Melchor Diclas said funeral period has to be shortened, when it would usually take five to seven days for a funeral to be observed in the province, due to threats of the pandemic.

All deaths within the municipality must be registered with the mayor’s office so that wakes will be limited to three days only to include the day of burial for Covid-19-related and other causes of death.

“We know that this would be deemed as a breach of our culture. Even cremation for Covid-19 related deaths is not part of our culture, but it needs to be done since this is a health emergency situation,” Diclas said.

The latest policy aims to discourage the gathering of people in the community, which can possibly trigger the spread the virus. Police, barangay health workers, and tanods would be tapped to monitor wakes to ensure that minimum public health standards are strictly followed.

The IATF has also agreed that weddings and all other gatherings or events must first be registered with the mayor’s office.

As of March 30, Benguet has a total of 5,729 confirmed cases with 5,020 recoveries and 97 deaths since March 2020.

Travel authority is not required when entering the province but the provincial emergency operations center will still issue travel authority for essential travels upon request. Other documents to be submitted are subject to the requirements of the local government unit of destination.

The advisory, meanwhile, requires that all 13 municipalities need to pass ordinances with penal provisions regarding the strict compliance to the minimum public health standards.

It also stated district hospitals and infirmaries should not refuse confirmed Covid-19 patients while waiting for rooms or spaces to be vacated for them to be accommodated.

The movement of all types of cargos will remain unhampered, provided it has a maximum of five personnel, depending on the type of vehicle used, may operate the vehicles by land with or without load.

Diclas said border checkpoints would continue to operate for proper travel monitoring of travelers coming in and out of the province during the general community quarantine period. – Ofelia C. Empian