Visitors began flocking to cemeteries across the country to avoid the expected surge in crowds on All Saints’ Day today (Nov. 1) and All Souls’ Day on Wednesday.
Despite being on full alert, the Philippine National Police said it has not received any credible and serious threat to the national observance of Undas.
“Nonetheless, the PNP remains vigilant, and the majority of our personnel are deployed nationwide in various areas of convergence and are ready to provide security and other public safety services and are to respond to any eventualities,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said.
The Manila South Cemetery reopened to the public yesterday, two days after being closed due to severe tropical storm “Paeng.”
Manila South Cemetery director Jonathan Garzon said that to avoid congestion, the sections of P. Ocampo and of South Avenue leading to the cemetery are closed to vehicular traffic.
At the Manila North Cemetery—the largest public cemetery in the Philippines—the public are only allowed entry from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Manila Police District director Brig. Gen. Adrei Dizon said they expect 1.4 million people to flock to Manila cemeteries until Undas.
At least a thousand police personnel have been deployed in these areas to ensure the security of the public, Dizon said.
“We have also set up police assistance desks inside and outside our cemeteries, and our force multipliers were already tapped where they would be deployed,” he said.
As the country prepares for Undas 2022, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go reminded Filipinos to remain disciplined and cooperative with the government’s health protocols while they spend time with the family and pray for their departed loved ones.
Aside from precautionary safety measures, Go also urged the public to keep the celebration of this year’s “Undas” orderly and peaceful.
The senator asked the government to ensure that necessary law enforcements are deployed to ensure the safety of Filipinos.
Meanwhile, as chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, Go encouraged everyone to follow necessary health protocols.
He called on the public to still wear face masks if possible, especially in crowded and public places amid a recent order to make face mask use voluntary.
“The fight against COVID-19 starts in our home and community. Following health protocols, taking care of our health, and wearing face mask, if it’s not a hindrance, are simple ways to protect the life of each one of us,” he said.
Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed hope that in remembering the saints and departed loved ones, Filipinos will be able to cope better and heal amid anguish and distress—especially after Paeng tore through the country, leaving scores dead and thousands more needing aid.
In his message for Undas, Mr. Marcos said the COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to “come to terms with mortality.”
“It taught us to number our days as we realize the uncertainty of our time on Earth. It made us contemplate what it truly means to live a meaningful life and to die free of regrets and at peace with oneself,” he said on Sunday.
The President enjoined Filipinos to find lessons that will result in healing.
“As we gain momentum toward complete recovery, I pray that our efforts to remember the saints and our late loved ones will bring healing to our hearts. May it likewise reinforce the foundations of our faith and compel us to live with genuine love and compassion in all our days,” he said.