Cemeteries in Cebu City to decide what time they will close on Nov. 1, 2

THERE are no more illegal settlers inside the Calamba Cemetery, one of the biggest cemeteries in Cebu City.

In their place were police officers who were deployed there to secure visitors on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days on November 1 and 2.

Mayor Michael Rama visited the cemetery on Thursday, October 27, 2022, to inspect if management complied with his order to only have one entrance and one exit for the Kalagkalag.

“At least, diring dapit ang mga patay naa pa gyud. I’m not joking. Pila ka buok nga kinahanglan nga dili manghilabot aron ang atong nindot kaayo nga lubnganan lubnganan gyud dili puy-anan,” he said.

(At least, the dead are still here. I’m not joking. How many did it take to ensure that the graves are homes for the dead and not homes for the living?)

The mayor said he wanted the situation to return to normal, which was why he did not enforce strict restrictions.

He said he will leave it to members of the public to protect themselves from the threat of the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.

He also said he will let the management decide what time it will close the cemetery.

Father Cocoy Omilla of San Nicolas Parish, which manages the Calamba Cemetery, said they will open the gates at 5 a.m. on November 1 and 2. Masses will be held starting at 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Omilla said they will close at 10 p.m. However, they will allow visitors beyond that if they can provide a valid reason, he said.

“Majority who try to enter after 10 p.m. are drunk. It will be a case-to-case basis. Only those who want to pray will be allowed in,” he said in Cebuano.

On Thursday, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) deployed 455 uniformed police personnel in 21 cemeteries, excluding the almost 900 members of Task Force Kasaligan, Probe team and barangay tanods, to ensure the safety of visitors during Kalagkalag.

According to CCPO Director Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, they will enforce Oplan Displina inside the cemeteries as well as put up signs reminding visitors to watch out for criminals.

He said they are ready to obey the order of cemetery administrators as to what time they will close.

“If the administrator says they will remain open until 2 a.m. or 4 a.m., our police officers will be there to watch over the visitors until that time,” he said in Cebuano.

In Cebu Province, Cebu Police Provincial Office Director Colonel Rommel Ochave said they will they will deploy 1,200 police officers, excluding force multipliers like tanods and another groups.

Picnics inside cemeteries and firearms even if these are licensed will not be allowed.

He said police officers will not only be securing cemeteries, but they will also secure tourist destinations since many are expected to flock to these places because of the long weekend.

He said he will assign two teams each to the north and south bus terminals.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines will also deploy K9 units inside the terminals, he said.

The Philippine National Police has raised the alert status from normal to full alert around the country. That means all leaves of absence have been canceled and all police personnel are at their respective police stations or assignments. (AYB/PJB)