Peaceful in cemeteries, ports: Hours wait for passengers waiting for sea trip home
(The Freeman) - November 1, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Some passengers in Central Visayas ports have to wait for hours due to lack of vessels yesterday, as authorities reported a “generally peaceful” observance of All Saints’ Day.

Senior Superintendent Marciano Batiancela Jr., Cebu City Police Office acting director, said he did not receive any information on any untoward incidents that happened, as he made his rounds of the city’s cemeteries including those in the mountain areas.

“Peaceful gyud kaayo ang atong observance sa All Saints’ Day,” he said, adding that his men have not confiscated any bladed weapons, flammable materials, or liquor brought inside cemeteries.

He said this could also be because the public is already aware of the “dos” and “don’ts” for them to avoid being either apprehended by authorities or victimized by lawless elements preying on the huge number of people in cemeteries.

He, however, said they have confiscated a toy replica of a firearm which was brought inside Queen City Memorial Garden yesterday. He said even replicas of firearms are not allowed inside cemeteries.

“Minimal ra hinuon pero bisan pa og replica ra na, sa pagkangan nga pareha na og nawong sa pusil, kuhaon gyud na,” said Batiancela. He said, though, that they gave back the toy gun to the owner when he went out of the cemetery.

Chief Inspector David Señor, CCPO Police Community Relations chief, said that as of 5 p.m. yesterday, an estimated 60,000 people visited the five big cemeteries of the city, namely that in Calamba, Carreta, Poblacion Pardo, Cebu Memorial Park in Barangay Banilad, and Queen City Memorial Garden.

Señor said they expected that more people would visit cemeteries last night because today, All Souls’ Day, is not a holiday and people are expected to be already back to work and would no longer have time to visit cemeteries.

Meanwhile, Commander Enrico Efren Evangelista of Philippine Coast Guard District Central Visayas said available vessels ran out those wanting to take a ride home passengers end up waiting for hours.

“Sa dami ng pasahero nagkulang yung mga vessels,” he said.

Evangelista said that region-wide, 42,000 passengers travelled from 4 p.m. of October 30 to 4 p.m. of October 31.

And from 6 p.m. last Saturday to midnight last night, Evangelista said they recorded 15, 811 outbound passengers and 9,136 inbound passengers for the whole of Central Visayas. Of the numbers, Cebu’s ports accounted for 13,255 of the outbound passengers and 6,670 of the inbound passengers.

In terms of safety compliance, Evangelista said they inspected 62 ships, seven motor bancas, and 35 roll-on/roll-off vessels and made sure that no overloaded vessels were allowed to sail.

“The situation was generally peaceful, although there was a significant increase in the volume of maritime activity within the region. So far, peaceful naman. We received no report of overcharging among vessel-bound passengers,” he said.

“Yung ibang nag-overloading, pinababa namin yung mga pasahero at hindi pinayagang umalis ang barko until the desired number of passengers is achieved,” Evangelista said.

He further said that aside from close monitoring of the situation at sea, their search and rescue vessels were readied to immediately respond to emergencies.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-7 Director Rey Elnar, on the other hand, said he issued 36 special permits for north-bound and 32 for south-bound buses to meet the expected rise in the number of passengers.

The special permits, he said, were valid for three days.

Elnar said that his office has so far not received any report on overcharging.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation and Communication activated “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Undas 2015” to ensure the safety and reliability of various modes of transport.

In a statement, DOTC said the Oplan anticipated peak periods from October 30 until November 2.

The DOTC has mandated all its attached agencies to implement 24/7 operations of their action centers to attend to passengers’ concerns.

In Cebu City, Batiancela said traffic flow was smooth under the supervision of CCPO Traffic Patrol Group and Cebu City Transportation Office personnel.

He thanked the Cebu City government for providing meals to around 500 Cebu City policemen deployed in two shifts to ensure the safety and security of the people. — /RHM (FREEMAN)

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