Daanbantayan mayor closes 25 cemeteries-A A +A
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
MAYOR Ma. Luisa J. Loot of Daanbantayan, Cebu yesterday issued a closure order against at least 25 unauthorized cemeteries, based on the findings and recommendation of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Loot said too many cemeteries in her town could land Daanbantayan in the Guinness Book of World Records, and if not stopped, the number could increase, because almost all big-time landowners and families who belong to the upper class want their own cemetery.
Loot said she even discovered that a rich family buried their deceased member and constructed a tomb inside their house.
In her closure order, Loot said unauthorized cemeteries violate Section 4 of Municipal Ordinance 13-2003, which provides that all applicants that want to operate or establish cemeteries are required to secure the proper development permit and license to sell cemetery lots from the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.
Section 5 of the ordinance provides that burials shall be made only inside a duly licensed cemetery.
Loot also cited Presidential Decree 856, which states “it is unlawful for any person to bury remains in places other than those legally authorized.”
DOH 7 Director Susana Madarieta wrote a letter to Loot last October, informing her that they found out during inspection that private lots, including household front yards and back yards or lots owned by private persons adjacent to the existing cemeteries, are used as burial grounds even without the DOH clearance, as mandated by the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.
Madarieta recommended that the local government unit (LGU) stop burials in unauthorized burial grounds and order the closure of unauthorized cemeteries that pose imminent danger to public health.
Loot said two religious groups, the Roman Catholic Church and Iglesia Filipina Independiente, also operate unauthorized cemeteries
in the municipality.
Aside from the closure order, Loot also wrote a letter to Engr. Peter Señeres, the general manager of the Cebu II Electric Cooperative Inc. based in Malingin, Bogo City, requesting him to refrain from connecting electric power supply to the illegal cemeteries during All Souls’ and All Saints’ Days on Nov. 1 and 2.
Loot told Señeres that the illegal cemeteries are located in Barangays Calape, Agujo, Bateria, Bagay, Malbago, Bakhawan, Tapilon, Maya, Poblacion and Bitoon.
The illegal cemeteries owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Church are in Sitio Malocbaloc, Barangay Agujo, in Barangay Bagay, in Barangay Tapilon, and in Barangay Maya.
“Closing these illegal cemeteries may cause a backlash to my political career, but I don’t care because I want the laws to be followed by everybody. Nobody is above the law,” Loot said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 18, 2011.