THERE was a generally peaceful nationwide observation of All Saints’ Day yesterday as millions of Filipinos trooped to different public cemeteries and private memorial parks to visit their departed ones, the biggest number of them in Manila’s North Cemetery, Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde said.
The PNP chief said they recorded no major crime incident across the country as police went on full alert Wednesday and established 4,768 Police Assistance Hubs manned by over 18,000 uniformed policemen to ensure the peaceful and orderly observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Over 5,600 Road Safety Marshals were likewise deployed in major thoroughfares and roads leading to cemeteries to assist motorists, Gen. Albayalde said.
PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent Benigno B. Durana Jr. said as of press time, police have confiscated five firearms while securing cemeteries: three in Calabarzon and two in Southern Mindanao; seized drugs: 19 in Metro Manila and two in Southern Mindanao; confiscated 106 bladed/pointed weapons in Metro Manila with 69; Calabarzon region with 16; Western Visayas with 3; and Southern Mindanao with 18.
Durana said alcoholic drinks were also seized in Calabarzon and Southern Mindanao; gambling paraphernalia in Metro Manila and Southern Mindanao and two loud karaoke machines in Southern Mindanao.
President Rodrigo Duterte paid tribute to the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and former president Cory Aquino on All Saints’ Day.
Duterte sent flowers to the tomb of the couple at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque.
Wreaths from Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and his 2019 election rival Alfredo Lim, meanwhile, were also at the Aquino couple’s tomb.
Supporters also flocked to the grave to pay their respects to the former government officials.
In Metro Manila, National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said there has been a ‘generally peaceful’ situation as of 4 p.m. with police fully securing cemeteries and memorial parks in the area.
After visiting North Cemetery Eleazar said long lines at the entrances due to police inspections may however cause people to lose their temper.
“Generally peaceful pero naobserbahan natin ngayon na dumadami na ang ating mga kababayan lalo na sa Manila North Cemetery, dumadami at puwedeng sa pagdami nito, sa haba ng pila at pag-iintay, nandun na yung init ng ulo,” he said.
The NCRPO chief urged those going to cemeteries to be patient and, as much as possible, avoid bringing children. “Hangga’t maaari wag magdala ng bata. Kasi itong mga bata madaling mahilo at kung minsan nawawala pa,” he said.
With an estimated 14.6 million Filipinos visiting the cemeteries nationwide, police strictly enforced the ban on the entry of liquor, firearms, bladed weapons, drugs and gambling paraphernalia inside cemeteries and memorial parks.
Gen. Albayalde also ordered the activation of the PNP Reserved Standby Security Force in Camp Crame headed by Chief Supt. Johnson Almazan. The RSSF will be on 24-hour alert ready for deployment in different parts of Metro Manila.