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Most families want remains to stay in Doña Pepang cemetery

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita December 01,2014 - 12:59 AM


LET’S TALK THIS THROUGH. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama shares the development plan for the Doña Pepang cementery to the families at Cebu City Hall. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

LET’S TALK THIS THROUGH. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama shares the development plan for the Doña Pepang cemetery to the families at Cebu City Hall. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

The relatives of 30 to 35 families whose loved ones were buried in the Doña Pepang Cemetery don’t want the remains to be transferred to another cemetery.

“We want to retain the heritage and historical contributions of our ancestors,” said Julius Angel, a relative of Fructuso Ramos who served as a municipal mayor in 1912 to 1922 when Cebu was not yet a city.

The families met with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who explained the city government’s plan to convert the cemetery into a public park.

While some families requested to see the final plan and requested Rama that the city government shoulder the expenses for transferring their loved ones’ remains, the majority of the relatives still want the remains inside the cemetery.

The Roman Catholic cemetery is the final resting place of some of Cebu City’s prominent families, including the Osmeñas whose loved ones are laid to rest in the Osmeña Mausoleum, the biggest and well-preserved structure in the cemetery.

Development works

Other prominent families who were laid to rest there include the Cuencos, Ralloses, Aznars, Rodriguezes, Pelaezes, Fernandezes, Borromeos and even the Ramas whose remains  have been transferred to Cebu Memorial Park (Cempark).

A representative of the Briones, Castillo and Entece families among others said they want the remaining bodies in the cemetery to be retained.

A representative of the Rallos family wanted their own family mausoleum retained.

The Racazas also asked for a three-year grace period before the actual development works in the cemetery.

These suggestions were written in Manila paper during yesterday’s consultation at the Social Hall in the Cebu City Hall (see graph).

Architect Socorro Atega, who was tapped by former mayor Tomas Osmeña to draft the plan for the project, attended the consultation yesterday. She also has relatives from the Borromeo clan buried in the cemetery.

She presented the proposed plan for the area which will include a bigger entryway, a mini ampi-theater and a tiered columbary among others.

“We want the area to be like the Paco Park in Manila where there are a lot of open spaces which can also be venues for events. In fact, I was married in Paco Park, But this is not the exact final plan yet,” she told the relatives.

Rama assured the relatives that yesterday’s meeting is only the first of many consultations that the city will be doing for the project. No final decisions were made as of yesterday yet.

A workshop was held with families whose requests were labeled “depends” while those whose requests were approved left.

Work in progress

During the workshop, the families and some city officials formed groups where they talked more about what they wanted.

“Work is in progress with the redesign and we will be having more meetings which are yet to be scheduled and announced,” said Collin Rosell who heads the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) that was tasked to spearhead the consultations.

Aside from the relatives of the dead, the city also has to deal with informal settlers inside the cemetery.

Based on DWUP records, there are 37 families living inside the cemetery, some of whom have been staying inside mausoleums already deserted by their owners.

Rama is pushing for the development of the park which he claimed was initiated by Osmeña during his time as mayor in 2008.

Yesterday, Rama also distributed copies of Osmeña’s letter to then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal asking for the cemetery to be donated to the city government which plans to make it into a “beautiful park.”

Last week, Osmeña sought for the court’s help to stop the city’s plans to develop the area.

The court denied the petition after the city government assured that no actual works or demolition will be done yet unless the city consults the affected stakeholders first.


Related Stories:

‘My father shouldn’t be treated like the others’

Doña Pepang cemetery to be closed, made a park

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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu Daily News, cemetery, dead, Doña Pepang, families, park

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