Police, firemen ready for All Saints’ Day
MANILA, Philippines – From police officers to firefighters, authorities have declared their preparedness to cope with any emergency in Metro Manila during the long All Saints’ Day break as thousands of Filipinos begin trooping to cemeteries to pay their respects to the dead.
The Philippine National Police said some 6,000 officers would be deployed around the capital while the Bureau of Fire Protection said it would put 23 fire trucks and nine ambulances on stand-by status from October 31 to November 2.
“Upon deployment, all city fire marshals and municipal fire marshals will act as group commanders with respective team leaders in each group and extend all necessary assistance in their respective areas,” said Superintendent Jose Embang, chief of operations of the BFP’s National Capital Region command.
The fire bureau said it would activate its security plan “Oplan Kaluluwa 2011” to ensure public safety during the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day next week.
The BFP-NCR said it would also be deploying medical teams in strategic areas around Metro Manila.
“The Medical Services Team shall be giving medical assistance and consultations to the public, who will be visiting their departed loved ones,” Chief Superintendent Santiago Laguna, the BFP-NCR director, said in a statement.
On the other hand, the PNP said it has been on full alert since Thursday afternoon.
The PNP will be deploying some 5,000 troops from its five districts, augmented by 1,000 more from the national headquarters.
PNP Director General Nicanor A. Bartolome said the police would focus on keeping the peace in and around cemeteries, as well as bus terminals, airports and seaports, as thousands of Metro Manila residents head for the provinces.
The PNP also began distributing leaflets with tips to residents about how to thwart burglars who might take advantage of houses left empty by vacationers, and reminders about which items they should not bring to cemeteries, such as weapons and loudspeakers.
Interior Secretary Jesse M. Robredo on Friday ordered the mobilization of law enforcers and barangay tanod (neighborhood watch) in the vicinity of cemeteries and memorial parks.
Robredo said the cops and other security forces should be on guard for the entire duration of “Undas” (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day) as criminal elements might take advantage of the long weekend to commit crimes.
In a directive, Robredo urged provincial governors and city and municipal mayors to immediately convene their local peace-and-order councils to formulate an action and contingency plan on peacekeeping.
“Such plan should contain the strategies to be carried out by security forces before, during and immediately after Undas,” he said. Part of the plan should be to ensure garbage collection and clean-up of cemeteries and other public places, Robredo said.