CEBU CITY, Philippines — A 30-hectare property owned by the Cebu City government in mountain barangay of Guba is a suitable place for a new public cemetery that the city needs.
Councilor David Tumulak, who authors the proposed ordinance for the new Cebu City Public Cemetery, joined the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in meeting residents of the mountain village on July 8, 2020 for public consultation on the proposed public cemetery in the area.
Tumulak said that only three to five hectares will be used for the botanical memorial garden. A portion of the property is beside a Muslim Cemetery and is the most ideal place for a new memorial garden, he said.
Tumulak said the public cemetery is an urgent necessity since the lack of burial space has caused problems for families who lost some of their members to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“The health and well being of the public is under clear and present threat if cadavers are allowed to pile up. Balancing of interest doctrine dictates addressing the danger that is clear and present must be resolved first and given priority,” said Tumulak.
Not a mass grave site
Tumulak said some of the residents were apprehensive because they heard the area would be converted into a mass grave for COVID-19 deaths.
The councilor explained that the city will be building a memorial garden with cemented tombs to avoid the contamination of the ground and prevent the spread of the virus.
The place will be transformed into a scenic space that can be a picnic place for families, a playground for children, and a community area that residents would enjoy with flowers and plants around the property.
Tumulak hopes for the approval of the residents as the city is in dire need of the burial space. The least the city could do for the fallen individuals would be to provide them a respectable burial site.
The ordinance would be officially filed at the Cebu City Council on July 10, 2020. /bmjo