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Village uses coffin to scare curfew violators

POLANGUI, Albay --- Curfew violators who are apprehended in barangay Ubaliw here are penalized by requiring them to attend a mock wake for 24 hours and are ordered to express remorse by pretending to cry intermittently in front of an empty metal casket, which is on display at the village hall.

Aside from the metal casket, the Ubaliw barangay council led by its chief, Nong Zamora, put up a tarpaulin as back drop with the warning “STAY AT HOME? OR STAY INSIDE?”

The coffin was put on display several days at the barangay hall after residents ignored the stay at home order of village officials.

This coffin on display at the Ubaliw barangay hall in Polangui, Albay stresses the importance of staying home and compels residents to stay at home as part of the village’s quarantine measures against Covid-19.

To compel residents to stay inside their houses, Zamora said he borrowed a coffin from a funeral parlor to warn his constituents of the danger of being infected by the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“At first, we experienced difficulty to contain the movement of the people as they kept going out despite of the curfew. They’re not heeding it seriously. So instead of putting curfew violators in jail, we decided to borrow a wood coffin, but my friend who owned the funeral parlor lent us a metal casket,” Zamora said.

Zamora said that residents who are caught violating the curfew are no longer sent to the town’s jail as it is already crowded. Instead, curfew violators are ordered to attend a mock wake or funeral vigil.

“Once apprehended, violators will be directed to attend the wake-like scheme for 24-hour instead of putting them in jail. They could not run away while manning the fake wake as they need to cry occasionally in front of the coffin under the eyes of our frontliners,” he said.

“This is an orthodox way of punishment but we are reminding everyone not to go out as we are serious enough about the quarantine and curfew period for their safety. We don’t want to put their lives into great danger considering that we have three cases of PUIs,” Zamora said.

Senior citizens, pregnant and lactating mothers, including children are also not allowed to go out of their homes for their safety.

The move of the village council proved effective as Ubaliw residents are now obeying the curfew since the coffin was put on display at the barangay hall.

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