Philippine emergency services stepped up security on Wednesday on the eve of All Saints' Day as millions of commuters packed airports, sea ports and bus terminals in an annual exodus to visit cemeteries and families in their home provinces.
More than 9,000 police guarded cemeteries and vital facilities in the capital, Manila. Plainclothes marshals sat on buses and ships, while explosives-sniffing dogs were deployed to beef up transport security, officials said.
There were no reports of any specific threats, but government troops said military operations against Muslim militants in the country's south as well as communist insurgents would continue. Tensions in Manila were heightened after an explosion rocked a shopping mall on October 19, killing 11 people and injuring more than 100. A preliminary police report indicated that the blast was caused by the accidental mixing of diesel vapour and methane gas in the building's basement.
The archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, called on the faithful to continue with traditional activities at cemeteries on Thursday and Friday, both public holidays.
Manila police also appealed to parents to place name tags on their children in case they are separated in crowds inside cemeteries.