PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte joined the Catholic faithful in observing All Saints’ Day, November 1, with a hope that this year’s observance would strengthen “our traditions” and “our bonds as a nation.”
In his message on Friday, Duterte expressed optimism that the departed and the saints who enriched the Filipinos’ faith also made an impact on the lives of many.
“May this year’s observance inspire us to strengthen our faith and uphold our traditions as we deepen our bonds as a nation,” the President said.
“Let us dedicate our time, skills and knowledge so we may make a positive and meaningful impact on our society while we pursue meaningful goals for our people and country,” he added.
All Saints’ Day, as well as All Souls’ Day (November 2), each year sees millions of Filipinos flocking to cemeteries nationwide to visit their dearly departed.
The observance of All Saints’ Day in Metro Manila was generally peaceful, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, said also on Friday.
“Of this moment, generally peaceful (observance of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day). I checked with district directors, sabi nila sa area nila walang incidents sa mga sementeryo (they said that in their areas, no untoward incidents happened in the cemeteries),” Sinas told the reporters in a news briefing.
As of 2 p.m. on Friday, the NCRPO recorded 960,095 people who went to the cemeteries in Metro Manila.
Crime volume days before All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day went down to 20 percent, Sinas said.
Based on the NCRPO data from October 28 to October 30, the number of crimes was 148, down from last year’s 176.
Robberies and thefts, however, spiked to 23 from last year’s 21 and 43 from 29, respectively.
A total of 4,220 NCRPO personnel and 6,628 force multipliers were sent out in all cemeteries, columbaria, bus terminals, train stations, seaport terminals and airport terminals nationwide.
“Kung wala nang masyadong tao, i-pull out na namin. Maiwan na lang kami sa gate para sa remaining na dadalaw (If there are only few people in the cemeteries, then we will pull out out personnel while some will stay to guard the gates for the people who will go the cemeteries at last minute),” Sinas said.
The NCRPO will remain on full alert status until Sunday night or Monday, as the 2019 Bar examinations will be held on Sunday.
Sinas praised local government officials, particularly Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso, for clearing the North Cemetery of illegal structures, enabling the “smooth” flow of people.
“Smooth flowing na unlike before last year nakita namin sa video dami talagang tao shoulder-to-shoulder (It is now smooth flowing unlike last year, we saw a video that there were many people in the cemeteries walking shoulder-to-shoulder),” he said.
Meanwhile the Philippine National Police (PNP) said peace and order situation nationwide remained “normal with no untoward incidents reported.”
“People continue to flock to cemeteries with police on full alert to respond to call for any assistance and prevent any occurrence of crime,” Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said in a statement.
The PNP has deployed 35,618 policemen and 99,716 additional forces nationwide to ensure security and public safety of 15 million Filipinos expected to go to 4,677 public cemeteries and memorial parks, and 76 columbaria nationwide.
With a reports from DARWIN PESCO