Cebu City councilor Philip Zafra (left) announced that Mayor Michael Rama approved their recommendation to limit cemetery hours during the Kalag-kalag for security purposes. (Screengrab from PRO-7 FB page)

CEBU CITY – The city government has decided that all public and private cemeteries in the city would only be open until 10 p.m. only during this year’s Kalag-kalag activities. 

In a press conference, Councilor Philip Zafra, chair of the city council’s peace and order committee said Mayor Michael Rama has approved their recommendation that cemeteries would only be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on November 1 and 2. 

“We will not allow anybody to stay overnight inside the cemetery for security purposes,” Zafra told reporters, Monday, Oct. 24. 

Zafra suggests visiting earlier or after the Kalag-kalag to avoid the expected “influx” of visitors in cemeteries and avoid possible transmission of Covid-19. The city expects more people to go to cemeteries after over two years of the pandemic.  

Wearing facemasks and observance of health protocols are highly recommended while inside cemeteries, he added. 

Police Lt. Col. Mark Gifter Sucalit, deputy provincial director for operations of the Cebu Police Provincial Office said police stations in the province are still coordinating with their respective local government units if they would limit the number of hours for cemeteries to be open during the Kalag-kalag.

Sucalit said they have posted on their respective social media accounts the contact details of each police station in Cebu for residents to contact in case of emergencies. 

He said they will deploy 951 police personnel during the Kalag-kalag together with some 2000 force multipliers to be stationed in cemeteries, seaports, and bus terminals in Cebu. 

Brig. Gen. Roderick Alba, newly installed chief of Central Visayas PNP said the entire police force will be placed under a “high state of operations readiness” during the long weekend. 

“Our appeal to our kababayan is we will conduct random checkpoints in various areas in the region for any possible threats from groups who might take advantage of the situation,” Alba said. 

Alba also discouraged “posting real-time” updates or pictures on social media of people’s whereabouts to protect houses usually left unoccupied during the Kalag-kalag. 

“It would be better to leave your residence to the house help or your neighbor for safety,” Alba explained in a mix of Filipino and English. – Ryan Christopher J. Sorote