MANILA � This year's celebration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day at the Manila North Cemetery has been "generally peaceful," the Manila Police District (MPD) said on Friday.
"We don't have any recorded crime nor incident this year except that time when someone attempted to smuggle in a sachet of marijuana," MPD Station 3 commander Supt. Julius Cesar Domingo said in an interview.
"We really expected that Nov. 1 is when the deluge of people is at peak. Yesterday, we had 1.4 million and today we have almost 130,000 people coming in," Domingo said.
He said the peak of people coming in on Friday was from 10:01 a.m. to 11 a.m., where a total of 48,209 entered the cemetery.
"By 12 noon until 2 pm, the figure started decreasing but based on latest data, it's now starting to increase," he said.
As of 2 p.m., a total of 124,450 people were inside the Manila North Cemetery.
Domingo stressed that the Philippine National Police continues to find ways to further improve their services, particularly during holiday seasons, including Todos los Santos, not only to prevent crime inside the cemetery, but to ensure the people's safety.
"If you observed yesterday, we made changes in the entrance procedures because we saw that the vicinity outside was inundated by people who wanted to enter the place," he said in Filipino.
On Nov. 1, the MPD added four more lanes for people to pass, aside from the original six lanes at the entrance of the Manila North Cemetery.
The weather forecast on Friday was mostly sunny, and given the rainy Undas in 2017, which garnered only about 1.5 million visitors, local authorities expected more this year.
"We already have more than 100,000 today in addition to the 1.4 million yesterday. We do not know, maybe bulk of the people will arrive later," he said.
The Manila North Cemetery, which is about 540,000 square meters, is the largest public cemetery in the Philippines. Most of the country's leaders are interred here, among them former presidents Sergio OsmeAa, Manuel Roxas, and Ramon Magsaysay.
Other notable group plots located in the cemetery's main avenue and near the entrance are those of the Masonic burial grounds, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Boy Scout Cenotaph in memory of the 24 Filipino scouts who died in the tragic plane crash enroute to the 11th World Scout Jamboree in 1963.
However, aside from people trooping in to pay their respects to their beloved departed, the cemetery is also bustling with ambulant vendors and pop-up stores of popular fast food chains as restaurants outside are packed with people. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency