Cebu City stands by decision to use Guba lot as cemetery
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu City Government stood by its decision to utilize approximately 30 hectares of land it owned in the hinterland barangay of Guba as a final resting place for some of the city’s residents.
Lawyer Rey Gealon, City Legal Officer and spokesperson of the city government, said the city will not be breaking any environmental laws as it proceeds with its plans of cutting down dozens of mahogany trees found in the property.
“Naa tay legal basis ana… wa ta makalapas ug balaod. Hinuon kinahanglan lang ta mag comply ug documentary requirements,” said Gealon in a live press conference on Monday, July 13, 2020.
(We have legal basis on this… we did not break any laws. However, we have to comply with documentary requirements.)
Gealon also said Environmental Secretary Roy Cimatu, in a meeting with officials from the city government, verbally gave the approval for the city to utilize the property as cemetery.
“Sa pakigpulong sa atong mayor, ug uban pa sa atong mga officials sa dakbayan kuyog ni Secretary (Roy) Cimatu nga nilingkod isip sad secretary sa DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) nga nihatag sa iyahang pagtugot gumikan sa kinahanglan kaayo nga ilubong ang atong mga kaigsuuonan,” he said.
(During the meeting between our mayor and city officials with Secretary Cimatu, who also happened to the secretary for DENR, he approved of using the land since we need burial sites for our fellow Cebuanos who passed away.)
The City Legal Officer also said there are no legal implications on their decision in cutting down dozens of mahogany trees on the site.
According to Gealon, mahogany trees do not belong to the list of trees the law has prohibited from getting axed since these are not endangered and were considered as “invasive species.”
The city government has started looking for areas to be used as public cemeteries as the number of COVID-19-related deaths steadily increased.
Data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) showed that they have documented a total of 359 coronavirus mortalities from Cebu City as of July 12. /bmjo
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