CEBU CITY – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will deploy uniformed policemen and establish an advance command post (ACPs) in five major cemeteries here starting on the eve of October 18, the first day of visitation permitted by the authorities in line with the “Kalag-Kalag” (Undas) observance this year.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) chief Col. Josefino Ligan said on Thursday a total of 224 cops will man different ACPs in the big cemeteries and police assistance desks (PAD) in smaller cemeteries to secure the 18-day observance.
Ligan said the city government allows cemeteries to open from October 18 to November 4 to allow Cebuanos to visit their departed loved ones early, rather than jam-pack the graveyards on All Souls’ and All Saints’ Day on November 1 and 2, respectively.
“We have augmentation force from the Philippine Army’s Task Group Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor. We are also counting the augmentation from the Cebu City Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (Probe) team headed by Raquel Arce, the Cebu City Traffic Office (CCTO) and the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office,” Ligan said during a press briefing.
The cops will ensure strict health protocols such as wearing of face masks and physical distancing among the visitors to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Lawyer Collin Rosell, consultant to the office of Acting Mayor Michael Rama who attended the briefing, said only the fully vaccinated residents will be allowed to visit the cemeteries on November 1 and 2.
He said the city government requires private and public cemetery administrators here to submit their contingency plan that will serve as the basis in managing the throng of people who will visit their dead kin during the 18-day observance of Kalag-Kalag.
Rosell highlighted during the briefing the intention of Rama’s administration to emphasize the “bottom-up planning method” in preparing the city for the observance of the festival honoring the departed.
“Another, there is also the concern on security. Even without Covid-19, trooping of people always entails security matters,” he said, stressing the safety and security of every cemetery which must be part of the contingency plan.
Cemetery operators, he said, must also include in their contingency measures the hazard aspect, considering that lighting candles and placing light bulbs in front of tombs have become a tradition during the yearly observance.
Arce said no commercial activities will be allowed inside the cemeteries except for the selling of food, flowers and candles.
Rosell also said the Archdiocese of Cebu and the city government agreed to allow the celebration only of two Holy Masses per day, one at 6 a.m. and another at 1 p.m.
The CCPO will not allow private cars to park outside the cemeteries and only firetrucks and ambulances will be permitted to be on stand-by within the vicinity. (PNA)