SE­CU­RITY MEA­SURES IN PLACE

Cebu Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - by Jose Santino Bu­na­chita, Agnes B. Alpuerto, Morex­ette Marie B. Er­ram and Ben­jie Tal­isic

Law en­force­ment, lo­cal gov­ern­ments and trans­port agen­cies have put in place mea­sures to se­cure thou­sands of Ce bu res­i­dents mov­ing out in droves to head for their home­towns be­tween to­day and to­mor­row for the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day cel­e­bra­tions.

Se­cu­rity around ceme­ter­ies has like­wise been beefed up to en­sure no un­to­ward in­ci­dent dur­ing the two days of kalag-kalag (All Saints’ and Souls’ Days)

when peo­ple troop to these ar­eas to pay their re­spects to their de­parted kin and loved ones.

All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day are cen­turies-old Chris­tian oc­ca­sions in the Philip­pines that see mil­lions of Filipinos re­turn­ing to their home­towns. These events have be­come more than a trib­ute to the Catholic saints and the de­ceased loved ones. They also serve as a break from school and work, and a time to re­unite with fam­i­lies.

Mala­cañang de­clared Oc­to­ber 31 as spe­cial non-work­ing day and Novem­ber 1 as spe­cial non-work­ing hol­i­day.

Sea ports

At Cebu’s ports, tighter se­cu­rity and in­creased vis­i­bil­ity have been im­ple­mented with the ex­pected in­flux of pas­sen­gers go­ing home to their prov­inces.

Philip­pine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Sta­tion deputy com­man­der John Manuel Alip said they have de­ployed around 10 more per­son­nel in each of their 13 sub­sta­tions for se­cu­rity pur­poses. In nor­mal days, they only have around five per­son­nel per sub­sta­tion.

“The Coast Guard is still on alert. Aside from our ad­di­tional per­son­nel, we have also de­ployed K9 units in our piers. We also have our pas­sen­gers as­sis­tance desks in place,” he said.

He said they have been on alert since Oc­to­ber 26 and will con­tinue be­ing so un­til Novem­ber 6.

Among the busiest piers in Cebu, he said, are Pier 1 and Pier 3 in Cebu City, which are the hubs of ship­ping lines ply­ing routes be­tween Cebu and sev­eral prov­inces in the Visayas and Min­danao.

With many more pas­sen­gers ex­pected to troop to the piers, Alip said it is ad­vis­able for pas­sen­gers to ar­rive at their des­ig­nated port ter­mi­nals three or four hours be­fore their sched­uled de­par­ture.

He added that bladed and sharp ob­jects are strictly pro­hib­ited so these should not be brought by pas­sen­gers.

PCG-Cebu al­ready mon­i­tored more than 6,800 pas­sen­gers on Satur­day morn­ing. Such num­ber is the se­cond high­est num­ber recorded in the eight Coast Guard dis­tricts in the coun­try.

Ceme­ter­ies

In Cebu City, se­cu­rity per­son­nel have been as­signed in the city’s ceme­ter­ies, ac­cord­ing to Coun­cilor Dave Tu­mu­lak, deputy mayor on po­lice mat­ters.

“All are in place in­clud­ing emer­gency re­sponse teams and po­lice de­ploy­ment in each ceme­tery. They will be in co­op­er­a­tion with the barangay tan­ods (vil­lage watch­men). Ev­ery­thing is ready in­clud­ing the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines,” he said.

In case of emer­gen­cies, he said peo­ple should call and in­form the city’s com­mand con­trol cen­ter.

For his part, Cebu City Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion and Man­age­ment Of­fice (CCDRRMO) head Nagiel Baña­cia said they have started de­ploy­ing their quick re­sponse teams in the dif­fer­ent ceme­ter­ies over the week­end, in­volv­ing about 48 per­son­nel.

“They will reg­u­larly mon­i­tor se­cu­rity and safety in their as­signed sites aside from the fact that we have our po­lice­men and barangay tan­ods,” he said.

Med­i­cal teams and am­bu­lances will also be on standby in the dif­fer­ent ceme­ter­ies on Oc­to­ber 31 and Novem­ber 1 ex­cept for the Cebu Memo­rial Park and Queen City Memo­rial Gar­den. Med­i­cal teams from the Emer­gency Res­cue Unit Foun­da­tion (Eruf) are the ones as­signed to the two memo­rial parks, Baña­cia said.

He re­minded that like in pre­vi­ous years, sharp and bladed ob­jects and liquor are pro­hib­ited inside the ceme­ter­ies, as well as play­ing of loud mu­sic.

Se­nior Supt. Joel Do­ria, chief of the Cebu City Po­lice Of­fice, said over a thou­sand po­lice­men, barangay tan­ods, traf­fic en­forcers and vol­un­teers are in place to se­cure Cebu City dur­ing the kalag-kalag break.

He also stressed that even po­lice­men are not ex­empted from the pro­hi­bi­tion to bring weapons of any kind inside ceme­ter­ies.

Air­port

At the Mac­tan-Cebu In­ter­na­tional Air­port (MCIA), the Philip­pine Air­lines (PAL) alone saw a surge of 15 per­cent from its nor­mal num­ber of pas­sen­gers for this year’s hol­i­days.

But ac­cord­ing to PAL-Cebu spokesper­son Cielo Vil­laluna, the air­line has enough num­ber of flights to ac­com­mo­date the in­creas­ing pas­sen­ger de­mands.

“PAL op­er­ates eight to 10 flights daily be­tween Cebu and Manila and 14 flights be­tween Cebu and other do­mes­tic points within Visayas and Min­danao. This num­ber can ad­e­quately meet the de­mands this pe­riod of Un­das,” she said.

Vil­laluna, how­ever, ad­mit­ted there are flight de­lays due to the in­flux of out­bound pas­sen­gers trav­el­ing to do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional points.

For Cebu Pa­cific Air, Cebu man­ager Johnny Yap said 53 to 55 flights are fly­ing from MCIA to the dif­fer­ent cities and prov­inces in the coun­try. Yap said the air­line com­pany has pre­pared for the large num­ber of trav­el­ers.

Both air­lines ad­vised pas­sen­gers to check their flight sta­tus and to ar­rive in the air­port as early as pos­si­ble to avoid con­ges­tion in check-in coun­ters.

The Mac­tan-Cebu In­ter­na­tional Air­port Au­thor­ity (MCIAA) has stepped up its se­cu­rity mea­sures to en­sure max­i­mum safety and con­ve­nience of pas­sen­gers.

“We have sus­pended the leave of our air­port po­lice for the Oplan Biya­heng Ayos: Un­das 2017. Po­lice are also rov­ing inside the ter­mi­nal for ad­di­tional se­cu­rity,” said MCIAA pub­lic af­fairs head Maryann Dimabayao.

Dimabayao added that help desks manned by med­i­cal and pub­lic af­fairs per­son­nel are set up at the ar­rival ar­eas.

Tarpaulins bear­ing air­port guide­lines are also placed in con­spic­u­ous places for eas­ier ac­cess of pas­sen­gers. Po­lice and air­port hot­lines are also writ­ten in the sig­nages.

Bus ter­mi­nal

The Cebu pro­vin­cial govern­ment, mean­while, has set up first-aid sta­tions at the Cebu South Bus Ter­mi­nal (CSBT) since Fri­day in line with the prepa­ra­tions for the in­flux of pas­sen­gers bound for the south­ern towns of Cebu.

Pro­vin­cial Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion Man­age­ment Of­fice (PDRRMO) chief Bal­tazar Tri­bunalo told CEBU DAILY NEWS by phone that they have de- ployed a team of at least six mem­bers from their of­fice, and an­other team from the Pro­vin­cial Health Of­fice (PHO), to pro­vide med­i­cal as­sis­tance to any­one in CSBT, lo­cated in N. Ba­calso Av­enue, Cebu City.

Although the in­flux of pas­sen­gers in CSBT is al­ready in­creas­ing, Tri­bunalo said there were no re­ports of any un­to­ward in­ci­dents. CSBT man­ager Joey Her­rera also said they are ex­pect­ing 33,000 south-bound pas­sen­gers within the next two days.

Ad­di­tional 14 po­lice­men from the Cebu Pro­vin­cial Po­lice Of­fice (CPPO) were de­ployed in CSBT since Fri­day morn­ing, he said.

Pos­si­ble rains

The Mac­tan bureau of the Philip­pine At­mo­spheric, Geo­phys­i­cal and Astro­nom­i­cal Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion (Pa­gasa), mean­while, an­nounced on Sun­day evening that a cloud clus­ter has been spot­ted 500 kilo­me­ters from the eastern bound­ary of the Philip­pine area of re­spon­si­bil­ity (PAR).

Ac­cord­ing to weather spe­cial­ist Leo Aguirre, the cloud clus­ter may en­hance into a low pres­sure area within the next 48 hours. The weather sys­tem is fore­seen to en­ter through Visayas and south­ern Lu­zon.

“This means that there is a big pos­si­bil­ity that we will have rainy All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days here in Cebu. Moder­ate to oc­ca­sion­ally heavy rains will pour start­ing Tues­day evening,” Aguirre ex­plained.

Pa­gasa could not yet de­ter­mine if the cloud clus­ters will even­tu­ally de­velop into a stronger weather sys­tem.

Aguirre said those who will be stay­ing in ceme­ter­ies and out­side their homes should carry their um­brel­las and rain gears with them.

The weather spe­cial­ist also warned of pos­si­ble flood­ing in ceme­ter­ies and low-ly­ing ar­eas.

“We will have a clear pic­ture of this weather sys­tem by late Mon­day or Tues­day. So ev­ery­one should just check our weather up­dates.”

Coastal wa­ters, how­ever, are seen to be light to moder­ate and are safe for fish­ing and sea trav­els.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.