THE Bacolod City Legal Office (CLO) is conducting an investigation on the illegal removal of tombs at the Burgos Public Cemetery.
City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said Thursday, November 9, he received the copy of the complaints Wednesday and he will require the caretaker Ricardo Repogio to report to the CLO.
He said this will be a joint effort of the CLO and the General Services Office (GSO) to determine the possible lapses of the caretaker.
GSO head Jerome Solinap had earlier ordered an investigation after he received complaints from two residents that the tombs of their loved ones at Burgos Public Cemetery were found missing.
On November 1, a couple filed a complaint before the Police Station 4 against Repogio, and alleged contractor and job order casual Winston Mullner.
They said that five graves, containing the bones of their eight departed family members, were missing and instead, the area was already occupied by the mausoleum of the Diaz family.
When the couple confronted Repogio, he pointed them to Mullner, who was allegedly the contractor for the mausoleum and the one who demolished the tombs.
Repogio, a regular city employee, had earlier said he discovered the construction of the mausoleum on October 29.
Bayatan said that if Repogio committed an administrative liability, the City Government will file charges against him.
He said they will also call the attention of Mullner to determine his participation.
Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran had earlier said that charges should be filed against the people involved in illegal removal of tombs.
“If it is proven that they are involved in illegal activity, charges should be filed against them. This will be one of the grounds for dismissal from the government service. This is disrespectful and a grave offense,” he said.
Resolution to convene
The Bacolod City Council approved a resolution requesting Mayor Evelio Leonardia to convene immediately the cemetery regulatory board to strengthen the mechanism of services and facilities in the city-owned cemeteries.
The resolution, authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa, was approved during the regular session Wednesday.
Gamboa said the City Health office conducted an inspection at the Burgos Public Cemetery as part of routine assessment and several concerned has been noted.
The CHO strongly recommended the prohibition to inter bodies at the cemetery as soon as possible until complete rehabilitation has been done to safeguard and ensure public health.
Gamboa said there are also several complaints of topsy-turvy arrangement, lost and replaced tombs and niches of dead loved ones.
The cemetery regulatory board will convene next week, he added.
The city-owned cemeteries are Burgos or Public Cemetery, Barangays Granada, and Handumanan cemeteries.
Gamboa said the local Muslim community also aired their concerns on the situation of the Muslim Cemetery in Barangay Handumanan.
In his letter to City Administrator John Orola, Hipolito Fos, president of Center for Islamic Studies and Da’wah of Negros (Cisdani) Inc., said they are asking the consideration and attention of the City Government to provide a regular monthly salary for the cemetery caretaker.
They also asked to repair the main gate and fence, develop the burial ground, repair the existing shed, and for lighting and water utilities.
The committee created by Muslim leaders will handle the administration and supervision with proper coordination with the city administrator, they added.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on November 10, 2017.
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