Gov. Ralph DLG Torres has underscored the need for the COVID-19 Task Force to talk with Diocese of Chalan Kanoa Bishop Ryan Jimenez with respect to safety protocols during the traditional public gathering in cemeteries during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and 2.
Speaking at his regular radio news briefing last Tuesday, Torres said it is important for COVID-19 Task Force chair Warren Villagomez and Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. chief executive officer Esther L. Muña to sit down and have a dialogue with Jimenez, because some parts of the United States and even the CNMI’s neighboring islands have cancelled these traditional gatherings.
He assured that he will abide by whatever recommendations Villagomez and Muña consider to be safe for the community.
Torres said he believes that they will be having more discussions on how the government can safeguard the community on Nov. 1 and 2.
At the same press briefing, Villagomez acknowledged that there’s quite a few concerns from the community about the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day gathering.
Villagomez assured that the task force and Muña will be working with Jimenez and the Catholic clergy to determine what things need to be done. “We’ve been talking about this and its mental and social importance to our people,” he said in acknowledging the importance of Nov. 1 and 2 to many people.
Villagomez said one recommendation is that since there are multiple celebrations on that day, they could just limit or minimize the number of people in cemeteries or turn the event into a virtual commemoration using a big screen.
“There are different means that we can consider,” said Villagomez, adding that they will be talking about this more with Jimenez and Muña. He said they will also listen to the recommendations of experts.