The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) has deployed 695 personnel around the country for the observance of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day, its chief said on Wednesday.
“Nakahanda ang ating highway patrol team units (Our highway patrol team units are ready), so we are assisting them providing motorist assistance in the national highways… we will be deploying available personnel to look at the flow [of] traffic,” Brig. Gen. Dionardo Carlos, PNP-HPG acting director, told reporters in a news briefing.
Data from the PNP-HPG showed that of the 695 personnel, 360 were deployed to cemeteries, 260 to bus terminals, 26 to train stations, 34 to seaports and 15 to airports.
Additionally, 1,946 force multipliers and 1,155 volunteers were mobilized to assist the PNP-HPG.
Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, PNP officer in charge, said no threat has been reported nationwide.
The Manila North Cemetery also on Wednesday advised people visiting their departed to pack food and drinks as vendors will not be allowed inside for reasons of safety and order, the cemetery’s director, Roselle Castañeda, said.
Despite the ban on vendors, Castañeda added that there is a small portion outside the cemetery dedicated to candles and flowers.
“The Manila North Cemetery still does not allow vendors, the area that these vendors used to occupy is where our fire trucks and ambulances are now,” she said.
Castañeda gave a “fair warning” to vendors that their goods would be confiscated as there are around 400 policemen deployed inside the cemetery, both roving and stationary.
Aside from readily available wheelchairs, the cemetery also mobilized 30 electric-powered tricycles to transport visitors from the gate to the nearest street of the grave of their family member.
Persons with disability, pregnant women and the elderly will be given priority to use the wheelchairs and tricycles.
According to Castañeda, burials in the cemetery will be put on hold and will resume on November 4.
Malacañang also on Wednesday declared half-day work in government offices on Thursday, October 31, to allow employees to go home ahead of the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Through Memorandum Circular 69, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea suspended work in government offices from 12 p.m. onward this Thursday “ to provide government employees full opportunity to properly observe All Saints’ Day.”
The work suspension would also allow the government workers “to travel to and from the different regions in the country.”
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, when Catholics visit cemeteries to honor deceased loved ones, are declared special non-working holidays in the country.
Suspension of classes in private schools and work in private companies, on the other hand, were left to the discretion of their respective heads or employers.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso signed an executive order suspending classes in all levels for both private and public schools and government work in the city for October 31.
In Quezon City, a traffic and rerouting scheme has been laid out for motorists who plan to visit cemeteries.
“We have prepared for the commemoration of Undas (Feast of the Dead) this year by mobilizing our newly formed Task Force for Transport and Traffic led by Ariel Inton,” Quezon City Mayor Josefina Belmonte said.
The mayor ordered the Quezon City Police District, Department of Public Order and Safety and Barangay Public Safety Officers to station personnel in the villages near cemeteries to assist in traffic and security at the vicinity.
For those visiting the Manila North Cemetery, trucks and buses coming from Balintawak area along A. Bonifacio Avenue and heading toward Manila shall turn left to Sgt. Rivera Street, right to D. Tuazon Street and right to Calamba Street going to Manila.
The transportation task force said a partial closure at 4 a.m. on Friday (November 1) would be implemented at the outermost lane westbound of A. Bonifacio Avenue from Mayon-Del Monte and A. Bonifacio intersection up to Calavite Street for pedestrians.
At Eternal Garden Memorial Park, all vehicles will be allowed to enter the cemetery using Leland Drive and they will exit using Baesa Gate.
For Holy Cross Memorial Park, the entry point of all vehicles will be at the back of Green Heights Subdivision and will exit at P. dela Cruz Street all the way to Quirino Highway
The QC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office will deploy Emergency Response Preparedness Team in Incident Command System areas located on Mindanao Avenue and Quirino Highway, Himlayan Cemetery and Manila North Cemetery to ensure safety and order.
The disaster office will have ambulances and rescue vehicles on standby.
Medical posts will be stationed in Bagbag Cemetery, Holy Cross Cemetery, Baesa Cemetery, Eternal Gardens Cemetery and Novaliches Cemetery.
Free, discounted funerals
In time for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, lawmakers of Bayan Muna are seeking to grant free to discounted funeral services to poor families in the Philippines.
Bayan Muna refiled House Bill 5249 or the “Funeral Services Discount Act,” a measure that was filed by the militant group in the past but had failed to hurdle the 15th Congress.
Under the measure, free funeral services will be provided for extremely poor families while 50 percent discount on funeral services will be granted to indigent families by funeral homes anywhere in the county.
An indigent family refers to a family whose monthly income is equivalent to the minimum wage set in the region where they reside, while an extremely poor family refers to a family whose monthly income is less than the minimum wage set in the area where they reside.
Funeral homes granting discounts or free services to indigent beneficiaries or extremely poor beneficiaries may reimburse the cost of the discount from any regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Before availing of the discount or free funeral services, the following documents shall be submitted: death certificate, funeral contract, a certificate as indigent or extremely poor beneficiary from the barangay (village) or the local social welfare offices of the local government units or from the DSWD regional or national offices stating that the beneficiary belongs to extremely poor or indigent families.
The certification shall not be a requirement before any member of the family of the deceased could avail the services of the funeral homes.
The party-list group cited data from the National Statistical Coordination Board stating that 25 million Filipinos live on less than P50 a day in 2012.
The measure was signed by Representatives Ferdinand Gaite, Eufemia Cullamat and Carlos Zarate.
With a reports from FRANZ EMBUDO, CATHERINE S. VALENTE, JOSHUA VERA CRUZ AND GLEE JALEA