In full alert for Undas

AUTHORITIES are in full alert status to ensure the safety of the public during the observance of Allhallowtide – Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

 This, as the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) tightens its security measures at the Roman Catholic Cemetery as President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to visit the tombs of his parents.

Sr. Insp Maria Teresita Gaspan, DCPO spokesperson, told reporters that a full alert status has been imposed to ensure that everyone visiting the cemetery is secured.

 The DCPO is securing at least 58 cemeteries in the city.

“All (DCPO) personnel are already deployed in the cemeteries (as early as Monday) to conduct patrol and secure the area,” Gaspan said.

 Around 4,300 security officers — police, military and auxiliary personnel – are patrolling the city.

Aside from securing cemeteries, churches and other places of engagement (malls and hotels for various Halloween activities), police officers are also tasked to provide security in all transport terminals – overland, seaports and airport — and major thoroughfares and highways of the city from Oct. 30 to Nov. 03.

 “As such, we have established police assistance desks inside the cemeteries and public places. This is to ensure safety and security of all riding public,” Gaspan said.

 The DCPO information officer asked the public “to please bear with us and do cooperate with our protocols to avoid delay and inconvenience.”

 Gaspan also encourages the public to exercise vigilance by way of reporting any suspicious person or any unlawful activity in the community.

 The city’s 12 police precinct commanders are already directed to provide security services to subdivisions that are prone to burglary, she said.

The DCPO also reminded the public that alcoholic beverages, bladed weapons, illegal gambling paraphernalia and loud musical instruments are banned from cemeteries.

Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, regional police director, said the Presidential Security Group is handling the security at the Roman Catholic Cemetery where the First Family is expected to pay a visit to the tombs of former Davao Gov. Vicente Duterte and wife Soledad.

Gaerlan said his senior officers will move around the provinces “to supervise and see to it that everything is in order.”

Task Force Davao commander, Col. Nolasco Mempin, said an additional of around 300 TFD personnel are assigned in the cemeteries.

Meanwhile, the local government has ensured that the food that will be served to security personnel during the occasion will carefully be checked to avoid last year’s incident that spoiled meals were served.

Atty. Lawrence Bantiding, the city’s assistant administrator for operations, said the city government has already blacklisted last year’s supplier of the food items from its roster of bidders.

 According to the official, the city now specifies in its bid documents a list of items that could be included in the food service provisions for around 1,700 personnel.

The menu will not include “saucy” food, or food with high moisture content, such as soups and broth-based recipes, with the food likely to be fried items and cooked rice instead.

Last year, packed meals intended for the breakfast of the volunteers and personnel were wasted as those were spoiled. The packs were only served around 10 a.m., hours after the original schedule.

“Preparations for food of that volume take time, so there’s a high risk of spoilage,” Bantiding said.

Bantiding said the city has also tasked the City Transport and Traffic Management Office to make sure that traffic is smooth during the observance.

 Among the most congested cemeteries are the private Davao Memorial Park along MacArthur Highway and the Wireless Cemetery.

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