IN PHOTOS: 'Relatively peaceful' Undas 2017 for Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – While Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa reminded the public to be vigilant against terrorist threats at crowded areas like cemeteries during All Saints' Day, no major incidents have been reported as of Wednesday afternoon, November 1.
EJKs victims remembered in NCR
In some of the major cemeteries in Metro Manila, the observance of All Saints' Day was marked by a call for justice for victims of extrajudicial killings and the Duterte administration's war on drugs.
At the Pasay Municipal Cemetery, among the thousands who visited were the relatives of Michael Siaron (whose death was captured in the now famous Pieta photo in the media0, Ericardo Medina, and JP Bertes – all alleged victims in the bloody anti-drug campaign. (READ: The Impunity Series)
Sympathizers lit candles at the mass grave of the more than 300 unidentified individuals at the Novaliches Public Cemetery. Some of the dead were alleged victims of the President war on drugs.
The Philippine Army, meanwhile, deployed personnel to help secure the Novaliches cemetery on All Saints' Day, as it did in other parts the country.
As in the other perennially most-crowded cemeteries, Manila South Cemetery in Makati City was packed with visitors despite the downpour brought about by Tropical Depression Ramil.
Minor incidents in Central Visayas
Tagbilaran City residents and hundreds of visitors from neighboring towns of Bohol province came to light candles, say prayers, and camp around open spaces at the St Joseph Catholic Cemetry, Bohol's biggest public cemetery located in Barangay Dampas, Tagbilaran City.
Security was tight in the area, with police and army troops patrolling the area around the clock.
Undas was relatively peaceful and orderly in the entire Central Visayas, according to the regional police.
“We are happy that the public is cooperating with the police even with the strict security measures we are implementing in cemeteries,” said Police Regional Office (PRO) VII Director Jose Mario Espino.
So far, no major incidents related to the observance of All Saints’ Day were reported in the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor.
In Cebu City, thousands of people trooped to the major cemeteries – the Carreta and Calamba cemeteries – to visit their departed loved ones. Espino said the relatively good weather prompted more people to visit the cemeteries early.
As of noon time, the police have seized bladed weapons, mostly those used in clearing tombs of weeds and plants, and bottles of alcoholic drinks.
Wanted man arrested in Cebu City
At the Carreta Cemetery, the police arrested a 27-year-old wanted man for carrying an unlicensed .38 caliber revolver inside the cemetery undetected by security personnel manning the entrance.
Waterfront Police Station chief Senior Inspector Jovito Labra said a concerned citizen informed the police about the suspect, Rolito Fernandez, who was seen carrying a .38 revolver inside the cemetery.
Labra said Fernandez, whom they found out has an arrest warrant for robbery, was immediately arrested by authorities.
Aside from deploying hundreds of policemen and security personnel at the different cemeteries in Central Visayas, Espino said policemen have also been deployed in various tourist destinations in the region.
Security measures at Duterte parents' grave
In Davao City, the police have deployed forces to secure the Davao Roman Catholic Cemetery, also known as the Wireless Cemetery, for President Rodrigo Duterte's possible visit to his parents' grave on Wednesday.
"The President is probably visiting so we've tightened our security there," Senior Police Inspector Maria Theresita Gaspan said in a radio interview on Monday, October 30.
"We've also mounted a security plan from road security down to perimeter security," added Gaspan.
In 2016, his first Undas as president, Duterte nearly failed to pay respects to his parents' grave due to bad weather.
The President visits the grave of his parents – Davao Governor Vicente Gonzales Duterte and educator Soledad Roa – during All Saints' Day and on their death anniversaries and birthdays.
The President just returned from an official trip to Japan on Tuesday night.
On Wednesday afternoon, Special Assistant to the President Bong Go said Duterte was resting from his Japan trip, and would visit his parents' grave on Thursday, November 2, instead.
Bookmark this page for updates from various parts of the country. – with reports from LeAnne Jazul, Darren Langit, Ben Nabong, Mars W. Mosqueda Jr, Michael O. Ligalig, and Mick Basa/Rappler.com