CEBU CITY -- A long weekend allowed visitors to head for the cemeteries a day or two early and made Tuesday’s crowds, though still large, easier for the police and other authorities to manage.
All Saints’ Day proceeded without major incidents in Cebu’s cemeteries that what stood out, instead, was an infraction by a handful of policemen.
Out of some 3,000 law enforcers and soldiers fielded Tuesday, about five were told they will probably be transferred because they failed to wear their proper caps.
“I am very hard on this order. The police must be seen as being prim and proper,” said Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas Director Marcelo Garbo, referring to the Tamang Bihis Program of the police.
At the Queen City Gardens in Cebu City, the police confiscated a hunting knife and other dangerous weapons, as well as beer and a plastic bottle filled with gasoline.
Overall, it was peaceful, police and local government authorities said.
“From what I have seen, everything was managed well. The police and everyone involved in Oplan Kalag-Kalag were visible inside and outside the cemetery. I’d like to tell everyone that we are the only ones who can keep our cemeteries secure and safe,” said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
He commended the police and other offices involved in the Oplan Kalag-Kalag for keeping the city secure and safe since Friday.
After visiting 11 cemeteries on Tuesday, Rama said he was satisfied with the security provided by the police and the barangay officials, as well as with the traffic plan of the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) for All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.
Citom Board Chairman Sylvan Jakosalem said the roads were not as congested as in the previous years, perhaps because of the long weekend that allowed the public to visit their loved ones ahead of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.
Traffic signs such as “no entry” and “no parking” signs were also displayed prominently.
“Peaceful” was also how Senior Superintendent Patrocinio Comendador Jr. described Tuesday’s situation in Cebu Province.
“(There were) no celebration-related incidents,” said the director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) who inspected some police stations in the north.
The major cemeteries that the provincial police focused on were the ones in Talisay City, Consolacion, Balamban, Toledo City, Daanbantayan, Minglanilla and Liloan.
In Cebu City, no crimes related to the celebration were reported.
Senior Superintendent Melvin Ramon Buenafe credited the 400-strong police force that patrolled cemeteries and other public spaces.
“The presence of the police is a deterrent to the criminals who would take advantage of the celebration,” Buenafe said.
About 600 volunteers from the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT), non-government organizations and civic groups were also positioned.
“I commend the police for doing their job and maintaining peace and order,” Buenafe said.
With the cemeteries generally safe and orderly, Mayor Rama had the chance to visit the graves of loved ones in the Queen City Gardens Tuesday morning.
“Despite my busy schedule, I still find time to visit because this is the least that I can do for them,” Rama said.
“Even if they are already dead, I know that they will help me in times of trouble.”
The Queen City Gardens was also the last stop for PRO-Central Visayas Chief Garbo, who, together with several top officials, checked and visited the two biggest cemeteries in Cebu City: Calamba and Carreta.
Although thousands filed into these cemeteries to offer flowers, pray, and light candles, no disorder or violence was observed.
But the five policemen who failed to wear the prescribed police caps now face the prospect of being transferred to Negros Oriental or Siquijor. Some may be sent to Bogo or the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit.
The policemen, who were not named as Garbo requested, came from the Cebu and Mandaue City Police Offices.
He said the police must set an example as enforcers of the law.
“Sagot ito sa mga kalokohan at mandarayang pulis (This is how I wish to deal with the shenanigans of some policemen),” he said.
Two days prior to the celebration, he ordered police supervisors to inspect cemeteries in their areas.
The PRO-Central Visayas received hourly reports from all over Central Visayas.
Chief Superintendent Jaime Calungsod of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (Dipo) in the Visayas remarked on the effective security preparations in Cebu.