Cimatu to Cebu City on new burial site: Minimize cutting of trees
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has instructed Cebu City Hall officials to ‘minimize cutting of trees’ if they will be pushing through with their plans to open up another public cemetery.
This was according to an environment official on Monday, July 20.
The Department of Environment of Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7), in a series of messages sent to the media, said the city government was told to ensure conversion of a vacant lot in the hinterlands to a burial site has minimal impact to the environment.
“The instructions of the Secretary (Cimatu) is to minimize the cutting of trees…Per tree inventory conducted by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), Cebu City, there are 102 trees mostly mango and gmelina that may be affected by the project,” said Dr. Eddie Llamedo, chief of DENR-7 Planning Division.
Lawyer Rey Gealon, City Legal Officer and Cebu City’s spokesperson, announced on Monday that they had chosen the two-hectare property in Sitio Baksan, Barangay Sapandaku to be used as a public cemetery called Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden.
“Sa proposed site sa atong Cebu City Memorial Garden, nauyunan na. Mao kini ang luna sa may Sitio Baksan, Barangay Sapangdaku,” said Gealon in a press conference.
(The proposed site for the Cebu City Memorial Garden was agreed upon. And it will be on a lot located in Sitio Baksan, Barangay Sapangdaku.)
The area was also inspected by Cimatu and Retired Major General Mel Feliciano earlier on Monday. Cimatu and Feliciano are currently the chief implementer and deputy chief implementer respectively of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Visayas (IATF-Visayas).
Llamedo said the technical working group from DENR was currently having a meeting to come up with their recommendations on the matter.
Cebu City has been scrambling for a place to be utilized as a public cemetery. The lack of burial sites in the city has been a concern as the number of deaths related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has continued to increase.
The city government was supposed to use portions of a 30-hectare city-owned lot in Barangay Guba. However, their decision was met with widespread criticisms when they decided to cut down at least 300 mahogany trees without securing the necessary permits.
The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH – 7) has documented a total of 411 COVID-19 deaths from Cebu City, the highest among all areas in the region. /dbs
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