THE two-day observance of “Kalag-Kalag” or All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1 and All Saints’ Day on Nov. 2, 2023, was “generally peaceful.”
Police authorities reported confiscating fewer prohibited items in the cemeteries of Cebu and Mandaue cities during the two-day observance. They also observed fewer cemetery visitors this year compared to last year.
The Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said only small items used for cleaning graves, such as weed bolos and brooms, were confiscated in Cebu City cemeteries, such as Calamba Cemetery along V. Rama Ave., on Thursday, Nov. 2.
Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, the information officer and deputy city director for operations of the CCPO, thanked the public for their cooperation and for heeding their plea not to bring anything that could obstruct the traffic flow at the entrances and exits of each cemetery.
She said the estimated crowd in all 21 cemeteries in the city as of 10 a.m. on Thursday was about 16,500, which is fewer than the number of cemetery visitors during “Kalag-kalag” last year.
She, however, was unable to provide the number of visitors in 2022.
Rafter attributed the decline in the number of visitors in the cemeteries to the long weekend from Saturday, Oct. 28, wherein she said the public may have opted to visit the cemeteries days before Nov. 1-2.
Regarding traffic flow, Cebu City Traffic Management Committee Chairman Rey Gealon said more than 600 personnel were deployed to key areas, including Carreta, Calamba, Pardo, Queen City Memorial Gardens, Labangon, Cebu Memorial Park, Chinese Cemetery, Golden Haven, and Veterans Cemetery.
The two-day observance was also “generally peaceful” in Mandaue City, with fewer banned items collected in cemeteries in the city on Wednesday and Thursday.
Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) deputy city director for administration and spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, said they only collected two knives during their mobile and foot patrols across the eight largest cemeteries in the city.
These include St. Joseph Roman Catholic Cemetery, Grosmar Memorial Garden, Manpark Cemetery, A.S. Fortuna Cemetery, Pagsabungan Cemetery, Eversley Cemetery, Manila Memorial Park Mandaue, and the Mandaue City Municipal Cemetery on Wednesday.
In 2022, the MCPO collected several prohibited items, such as thumbtacks, cards, and some pairs of scissors.
Oriol told SunStar Cebu on Thursday, that individuals caught trying to sneak in prohibited items are currently detained and will face charges for illegal possession of bladed weapons prohibited under Batas Pambansa Blg. 6.
Under the law, anyone found guilty will be penalized with imprisonment of not less than one month nor more than one year or a fine of not less than P200 nor more than P2,000, or both, depending on the court’s discretion.
Oriol attributed the success of their campaign to reduce prohibited items to their “Undas” security plans, including early information dissemination through social media, live public announcements or “rekorida,” and public education regarding possible cemetery violations.
He said they had not recorded any untoward incidents throughout the city during All Saints’ Day.
Based on MCPO data, around 6,600 people visited the city’s cemeteries on Wednesday. Oriol projected roughly 25,000 to 30,000 visitors during the last day of the Kalag-kalag on Nov. 2.
Around 300 policemen were deployed to guard police posts within cemeteries, churches, terminals, and other places of convergence for the two-day observation.