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Court ruling clears path for cemetery development

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Jose Santino S. Bunachita July 22,2015 - 01:46 AM


Only the Osmeña Mausoleum (right) will be preserved based on the development plan for the Doña Pepang Cemetery in barangay Carreta. The city government wants to convert the area into a park. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

The clearing of houses of around 40 families in front of the Doña Pepang Cemetery will push through, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said.

The Regional Trial Court has struck down the petition of former mayor Tomas Osmeña to stop the development of the cemetery into a park.

Rama said he is committed to upgrading the site into a public  park.

“We will definitely be pursuing it because it will be good for the entire City of Cebu, bringing a very historical site which is the Roman Catholic Cemetery and now it will be called the Heritage Park,” Rama said in a phone conference with reporters yesterday.

He said it was Osmeña himself who had asked the Archdiocese of Cebu for a lot exchange so that the city can own the cemetery and develop it into a “beautiful park.”

READ: Court rejects Osmeña petition to stop cemetery closure

Cebu City legal department head Atty. Jerone Castillo presented in court a letter dated July 16, 2008, which Osmeña sent to then Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal.

In 2011, the city government and the archdiocese entered into an agreement for the exchange. The city gave a 729 –square-meter lot in barangay Pasil to the archdiocese in exchange for the almost one-hectare cemetery lot.

RTC Branch 9 Judge Alexander Acosta affirmed his previous decision denying Osmeña’s petition.

He also disallowed the residents living in front of the cemetery from intervening in the case, saying they have different rights.

Osmeña refused to comment, saying he has yet to receive a copy of the court ruling.

Rama yesterday directed  the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) chief Collin Rosell to push through with the clearing operations.

He also wants City Administrator Lucelle Mercado to fast-track the transfer of the market on a road island in front of the cemetery to the reblocked portion of barangay Lorega San Miguel.

The mayor also directed the   Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) chief Ester Concha to help DWUP, especially in providing the necessary assistance to the affected families.

The cemetery houses the Osmeña Mausoleum, where several of Tomas’ ancestors are interred.

Rama earlier made a pronouncement that the mausoleum will not be destroyed.

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TAGS: Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, cemetery, demolition, Doña Pepang, urban poor

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