MANILA, NOVEMBER 3, 2008 (STAR) By Perseus Echeminada - What will they think of next? A family-run rent-a-coffin business will soon be offering a “happy” coffin decorated with “peaceful and happy images” that aims to ease the pain and sorrow brought about by the loss of a loved one, particularly among the poor who often cannot even afford a decent burial for their dead relatives.

Mary Ann Andes explained that the coffin with the “happy design” is rented for the funeral, while an inner wooden casket will be buried along with the cadaver.

“I am working to include clouds in my design. Clouds are associated with heaven,” Andes told The STAR in a telephone interview.

Andes, a 20-year-old computer design student at Asia Pacific University in Makati City, helps her father Antonio run their business. Antonio is the inventor of the reusable coffin.

They recently signed an agreement with Trece Martires City Mayor Jun de Sangun and the Mabuhay-Deseret Foundation headed by Bret Jackson for the Karamay Hanggang sa Kabilang Buhay project, which will provide free burial to indigent residents of the Cavite city.

“The city government of Trece Martires spent more than P2 million last year as burial assistance for its constituents. The reusable coffin is a project that would save money and still provide decent burial to the indigents,” Andes said.

All Saints’ weekend peaceful – PNP By Cecille Suerte Felipe Monday, November 3, 2008

The Philippine National Police (PNP) described the observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day as generally peaceful and orderly as people headed home to their provinces to commemorate their dead.

PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa ordered all policemen to maintain vigilance as people who went to their provinces started returning to Metro Manila late yesterday afternoon until this morning.

“The well-executed All Saints’ Day security plan should serve as our dry run for a similar and much bigger security plan for the Yuletide season,” Verzosa said.

At Camp Crame, the National Operations Center was abuzz with activity to monitor situations on the ground and coordinate movements of PNP units, but no major untoward incidents were reported nationwide, except for a freak accident involving a bus and a van along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Mabalacat, Pampanga that killed six people and injured several others.

Perennial police concerns were reported in some areas such as missing children, traffic congestion, crowding in cemeteries, and illegal parking.

Police confiscated alcoholic drinks, prohibited substances, gambling paraphernalia, and deadly weapons in public cemeteries.

“Despite the bad weather in some places and the perennial traffic and vehicular incidents, the nationwide observance of this year’s All Saints’ Day was orderly,” Verzosa said.

“This will serve as a preparation for the PNP for the upcoming Christmas season. I implore the various police units to remain vigilant for the remainder of this holiday,” he added.

Verzosa said hourly situational updates from the regional police offices reaching the PNP national headquarters indicated no significant incidents affecting the traditional holiday.

The PNP chief said the high state of operational readiness and successful implementation of security procedures and public safety operations by police units were major factors in ensuring public safety.

Verzosa ordered members of the Directorial Staff to act as area supervisors in different regions during the observance of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day weekend.

Deputy Director General Ismael Rafanan, PNP deputy chief for operations, was tasked as overall supervisor.

Police Assistance Centers (PACs), in cooperation with various local government units and civilian volunteer organizations, were set up in public cemeteries and memorial parks to increase police visibility.

He commended all police personnel for their “great job” of providing security and safety services to the public and expressed his gratitude to the local government units, non-government organizations, volunteer groups and other government agencies for extending their support and assistance.

Verzosa also thanked the media for helping the police disseminate information on safety and security matters.

PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome said the PNP will remain on “heightened alert” to prepare for the influx of motorists and commuters heading back to Metro Manila.

“The public should remain cautious and aware of their surroundings because there is always a possibility of criminal elements taking advantage of the situation,” Bartolome said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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