A couple of days prior to the observance of the All Saints' Day holidays or Undas, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) urges local government units (LGUs) and its attached agencies to place "all hands on deck" to ensure a peaceful and safe conduct of the annual tradition for the departed.
DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año says that the influx of people going home to the provinces and to the cemeteries to observe the yearly Undas tradition may entice lawbreakers to commit crimes, hence, LGUs and the Department's attached agencies must be proactive and vigilant.
"Undas brings everyone together, even the criminals, which is why it is imperative that LGUs and DILG's attached agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are activated and are put on heightened alert to secure the peaceful, orderly and safe observance of All Saints' Day this year," says Año.
In a directive, Año enjoins LGUs to convene their local peace and order councils (LPOCs) to formulate a contingency plan on peace and order and public safety; mobilize and deploy law enforcers, barangay tanods, and medical personnel; maintain the cleanliness of cemeteries and public places before, during and after Undas; and implement necessary measures towards its meaningful and peaceful observance.
Deployment of barangay tanods and law enforcers in vicinities of public and private cemeteries and memorial parks; local and national roads for intensified visibility and for traffic management; and in critical areas to prevent the entrance and exit of lawless forces within their jurisdiction are also encouraged.
"Sa panahong tulad ng Undas kung kailan maraming tao, there is no such thing as being 'too prepared' because we would not when know criminals would strike. Mas mabuti na ang maging sobrang handa kaysa malapit ang ating mga kababayan sa kapahamakan," he explains.
All hands on deck
DILG Spokesperson and Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya says that DILG's attached agencies are on full-alert status in support of the Department's call for a peaceful and safe observance of Undas 2018.
According to Malaya, the PNP is committed to position its 30,000 police force to secure areas frequented by civilians such as malls, LRT and MRT stations, churches and the cemeteries, especially since it will be a long weekend.
"This Undas is a little longer for it falls on a long weekend, so we expect that Filipinos will not just flock the cemeteries but will also use this time to bond with their families," says Malaya.
Road safety marshals will be deployed in areas along the routes to and from cemeteries and other areas of convergence, together with an intensified coordination with the LGUs, concerned government agencies and radio groups to address traffic congestion.
Malaya also reminds civilians to ensure that their homes are secured before they go to the cemeteries to pay respect to their departed loved ones to avoid possible cases of burglary "for despite active security patrols in residential areas to prevent akyat-bahay incidents, securing their homes before living is always the first line of defense."
Conduct of random mobile checkpoints in accordance with the PNP Operational Procedures will also be implemented.
Oplan Kaluluwa of the BFP will also be rolled-out placing all units of the fire bureau on heightened alert or Code Blue from October 27-29 and full alert or Code Red from October 30 to November 2, according to BFP Spokesperson F/Supt. Joanne Vallejo, to maximize the deployment of personnel and keep all stations ready to respond to any untoward incidents.
Vallejo says that the BFP will conduct inspections of bus terminals, ports, and other places of assembly; intensified fire safety awareness campaign; and visibility of fire trucks and ambulances in strategic locations shall be readily available to the public.
Every station will also establish motorists assistance points along major roads to provide assistance to motorists before and after the holidays due to the influx of travelers together with medical assistance posts in strategic locations near cemeteries and public thoroughfares.
The BFP Spokesperson also says that all BFP personnel's application for leave are temporarily suspended to ensure that 'all hands are on deck' for the Undas 2018 fire safety campaign which will focus on candle usage and securing houses during vacation.