‘Make All Saints’ Day garbage-free’

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
âMake All Saintsâ Day garbage-freeâ

The aftermath of the holidays meant to honor the dead usually produces tons of garbage, composed mostly of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, File

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos are reminded to observe a garbage-free All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day by bringing their trash home instead of leaving it in cemeteries.

The aftermath of the holidays meant to honor the dead usually produces tons of garbage, composed mostly of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials.

“Let us not forget to be garbage-conscious so we can help promote a clean environment,” Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said.

He issued the reminder as millions are expected to flock to cemeteries nationwide to honor their departed relatives.

The tradition has become a reunion of sorts for some families, who even hold parties in cemeteries.

“It’s very important for people to be mindful of what they are going to bring to the cemeteries and how they plan to deal with it after the celebrations,” Castelo said.

Last year, more than 1,000 tons of garbage were collected from several cemeteries in Metro Manila alone.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority dispatched 168 trucks to haul the trash, composed mostly of styro-packaging products, paper, plastic cups, baskets and dried flowers.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu appealed to Filipinos to honor their dead by keeping the final resting place free of garbage.

Graveyards are usually turned into dumpsites by cemetery goers during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, Cimatu said.

He advised the public to bring trash bags and segregate their waste at the cemetery.

Code white alert

Hospitals across the country will be on code white alert until Nov. 3 in anticipation of any untoward incident that may occur during the holidays.

“This is to make sure that all health facilities are ready to address any emergency related to the observance of Undas,” Lyndon Lee Suy, spokesman for the Department of Health, said.

He advised persons with health concerns to think twice before going to the cemeteries to avoid complications, as well as those who are planning to bring their children with them.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the public should also be cautious of the food and drinks that they would take to the cemeteries to avoid contracting illnesses such as typhoid fever, hepatitis and diarrhea.

No threat

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa placed all police units nationwide under highest alert to ensure an orderly and peaceful observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Dela Rosa directed all regional police directors to step up monitoring of all commercial establishments and other possible targets of lawless elements.? “We have not monitored any direct threat, but we are on full alert,” Dela Rosa said during a briefing at Camp Crame yesterday.

He urged the public to be vigilant and immediately report to authorities any suspicious person, activity or package left unattended in cemeteries or along streets.? In the past, robbery groups such as acetylene and termite gangs took advantage of the holidays by digging tunnels to break into banks and other commercial establishments.

Pray for Marawi victims

Marawi Bishop Edwin dela Peña will instruct priests in his diocese to include in their prayers during All Saints and All Souls those who perished in battle, especially the fallen soldiers.

“I will issue that call especially for people in my jurisdiction,” Dela Peña said, adding he is hoping other dioceses and local churches will do the same.

Fr. Jerome Secillano of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines urged the faithful to pray not only for their dead relatives and friends, but also for those killed in the war against drugs as well as in Marawi.

“May the Lord give them eternal peace away from the violent and destructive ways of the world,” Secillano said.

Safe travel

Security on roads, airports, seaports, train stations as well as bus and jeepney terminals will be tightened during All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said the move would ensure safe and efficient travel for everyone during the holidays.

Task Force Alamid, an inter-agency council on traffic, has cleared roads of obstruction to ease traffic flow.

Traffic personnel and volunteers from the Land Transportation Office, an attached agency of the DOTr, will assist traffic flow at the South and North Luzon expressways’ toll exits.

Another attached agency, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, inspected bus terminals in Metro Manila to ensure the vehicles’ roadworthiness.

The Manila International Airport Authority also inspected the facilities of all terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

All Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines personnel are on heightened alert during the holidays.

Water stations, free bottled water

Maynilad Water Services Inc. will set up water stations in the Manila North Cemetery as part of its hydration support for the All Saints’ Day activities.

The water stations will provide free water to cemetery goers in support of the Rescue 5 first-aid and public assistance project of TV5 News today and tomorrow, according to Maynilad president and chief executive officer Ramoncito Fernandez.

Maynilad will also distribute free bottled water for motorists passing through the North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Manila-Cavite Expressway. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Sheila Crisostomo, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Evelyn Macairan, LouellaDesiderio

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