GenSan on alert for ‘Undas’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 October) — Police authorities have placed the entire city under heightened alert in preparation for the observance of the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, two of the most significant religious holidays for Catholics.

Supt. Ruel Berango, deputy city police director for operations, said Monday all police units in the city are presently on full deployment as part of their intensified security operations for the public holidays on Thursday and Friday.

He said they have increased their visibility in various public places and strategic areas, specifically in public transport terminals, shopping malls, city airport and in the nine public and private cemeteries within the city.

“We have set up public and motorist assistance centers and assigned roving police teams to secure our cemeteries and other public convergence areas,” Berango said.

The official said they have tapped barangay civilian volunteers and elements from the Philippine Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan to augment the security operations in the area.

Berango said their operations are mainly concentrated at the city’s two biggest cemeteries — the local government-owned General Santos City Memorial Park (formerly Uhaw public cemetery) in Barangay Fatima and the Forest Lake Memorial Park in Barangay Apopong.

He said they have established four police assistance hubs at the General Santos City Memorial Park and three at the Forest Lake Memorial Park, which started to draw numerous visitors over the weekend.

Inspection desks and frisking areas manned by police officers were also set up in the entry points of the two cemeteries, he said.

As part of the Philippine National Police (PNP) central office’s directives, Berango said they will strictly implement the ban on the bringing and drinking of liquor and other alcoholic beverages in cemeteries.

He said the other prohibitions are the holding of gambling sessions and carrying of gambling paraphernalia as well as carrying or possession of firearms and other deadly weapons.

“The playing of loud music inside cemeteries is prohibited as they might disturb the prayer sessions and other related private gatherings,” Berango said.

The police official advised traveling motorists to bring emergency kits and for residents to make sure that their homes are properly secured before leaving for the cemeteries.

If possible, he said residents should install closed-circuit television cameras or CCTVs and burglar alarm systems in their homes.

Meantime, in South Cotabato province, local police units have established additional security checkpoints and increased public visibility in connection with the observance of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day.

Senior Supt. Randolf Delfin, provincial police director, said they will implement full personnel deployment in cemeteries and other public areas in the province during the two-day holidays.

The police official said they have requested the Police Regional Office 12’s Regional Public Safety and Maneuver Battalion to also augment the security operations within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.

“All of us will be on active duty during the All Saints’ and All Souls Day. I even assigned our office personnel to join the operations,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)