Cemetery visits done ahead of long holidays

Posted on November 1, 2012

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To avoid crowds, some Cebuanos visited graves of their departed loved ones a day ahead of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

Liza Palermo, 38, of San Remigio town, was among the early visitors in Carreta cemetery, one of Cebu City’s biggest cemeteries. She said she wanted to go back home early to enjoy an early vacation.

This year’s observance falls on a Thursday and Friday, which extends the weekend to a four-day holiday.

Another early visitor in Carreta cemetery, Ayesa Canama, 54, said she also wanted to avoid today’s big crowd.

“It’s better today, it’s still open and there are fewer people,” said Ayesa, a mother of three children residing in barangay Banilad.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Garbo, Police Regional Office-7 (PRO-7), who inspected Cebu’s public cemeteries ahead of the holidays said the police were better prepared to handle the crowds this year. Closed circuit TV cameras were installed in Carreta cemetery and bus terminals.

Blue guards and uniformed personnel were designated to secure terminals. Railings were placed between the entrance and exit areas.

Jeepney stops were designated far from the gates.

In Mandaue City, visitors in a municipal cemetery voiced concern about the presence of illegal settlers.

Mila Mendoza, whose husband’s remains lie at the municipal cemetery, said she saw children defecating near a mausoleum. “We can’t pray because of the foul odor,” she said in Cebuano.

Analou Sanchez, one of the illegal settlers, said they are care takers of the house of former Mandaue City vice mayor Carlo Fortuna’s next to the cemetery.

“We’ve been living here for 23 years. We will only vacate this area if the owner tell us to. It’s the people who get inside the cemetery who dispose of their dirt. We have our own toilet,” Sanchez said in Cebuano.

Mendoza asked Mandaue City officials to assign security guards at the cemetery to keep away squatters since there is no gate or wall to divide it from the residential area.

Fire officials warned those installing ligh bulbs in St. Josephs’ Roman Catholic Cemetery to avoid using old wiring to prevent fire outbreaks and electric shocks.

Police reminded residents to avoid bringing valuables with them to the cemetery to avoid attracting theives and to make sure someone is left at home at all times.

Someone should turn on the house lights at night to remind robbers about his or her presence.

The Mandaue City fire department also has fire trucks in public and private cemeteries on standby alert. /Chito O. Aragon, Fe Marie Dumaboc and Jucell Marie P. Cuyos, Correspondents

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