By Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) expects to collect a lesser volume of garbage at cemeteries during this year’s All Saints Day and All Souls Day observance.
Francis Martinez, an official of the MMDA heading the cleanup operations, partly attributed this to the heavy rains brought by tropical depression “Ramil” that affected the number of people at the cemetery.
“The heavy rains discouraged many from going to cemeteries on November 1. Others have visited cemeteries to remember their loved ones during the weekend,” said Martinez, Metro Parkway Clearing Group chief.
He said the MMDA’s cleanup operations will only be concentrated at six major cemeteries: Manila North, Loyola Memorial Park, Manila South, Bagbag, and San Juan and Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“Collection of trash left at cemeteries is still ongoing. We have observed that garbage volumes are lighter this year,” said Martinez.
During the previous years, the MMDA had taken the lead in clearing at least 20 cemeteries during and after All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day observance.
However, not so many clearing group personnel were assigned to do the task this year.
“The workforce of the MMDA is already spreading its workforce thin to meet the requirements for field personnel on major thoroughfares for two major events: Undas and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, prodding MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim to deploy fewer personnel in cleaning cemeteries this year,” said Martinez.
Aside from MMDA, Martinez said local government units and non-government organizations are collecting garbage inside cemeteries.
“Trucks have been deployed at the six locations. We also distributed garbage bags,” said Martinez.
Most visible discards left by visitors in the cemeteries were leftover food, disposable plates, plastic cups and bottles, Styrofoam containers, soiled newspapers, candy wrappers, and dried flowers.
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