Of Geese and Memorial Park-A A +A
By Jun Ledesma
Friday, June 22, 2012
WHAT is good for the goose is good for the gander. This simply means that the sexes should be treated the same way and not be subjected to different standards. This idiom can very well apply to the pending application of Fairfield Memorial (formerly South Groove Memorial) which is nothing different from Eternal Gardens - both having pending requests for action from the City Council.
The former is applying for reclassification for special use of the land while the latter for a development permit.
My attention was called by a friend who told me that there is a nasty text message being passed around discrediting City Councilor Bernie Al-ag, under whose committee memorial parks projects are evaluated. The text appears to assail the character of the councilor for considering four more memorial park projects in what the texter alleged are within the city's aquifers.
The message sender claimed to be speaking for Dacoville Homeowners Association. Obviously the intention is to rouse the homeowners to gang-up on Al-ag and consequently question the endorsement he made for Fairfield. In all fairness to Al-ag, he still has to see what the naughty texter is bruiting about.
Assuming that there are really other applications filed at City Hall, his committee will evaluate that based on what the Water Code allows or disallows.
The oddity of some councilor's hesitancy and the viciousness of the text brigade had prompted me to take a closer look the controversy. Here's what I discovered: Fairfield Memorial is just 223 meters away from Eternal Gardens and all are on the same side of Libby in Baliok, Toril. Across the street are two existing cemeteries, the Toril Public Cemetery and Toril Memorial Park. Like the two old cemeteries,
Eternal and Fairfield are all outside the perimeter or coordinates set in the Water Code. Actually the entire Davao City is considered to be one big aquifer. It’s just that some areas do not yield as much water than the others already identified. DCWD had made test wells so they know where to find copious water like what we have in Dumoy and Dacoville. They are the authority on the subject.
Since the time Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte warned of any attempt of any councilors to peddle their votes I have personally raised my antenna to monitor discreet and indiscreet controversies obtaining in the city council. I therefore cannot just simply dismiss my misgivings on the indecision of some members of the council to grant the same treatment it accorded Eternal Gardens, TPC and TMP to Fairfield. To repeat, "what is good for the goose is good for the gander."
I had it from unimpeachable source that Fairfield had already obtained all the certifications required by the City Mayor’s office and of the City Council. Clearances and certifications had been issued by the Department of Health, the Davao City Water District, the Mines and Geological Bureau and the Environment Management Bureau precisely due to the incontrovertible fact that the proposed memorial park does not breach any law, regulations and existing ordinances and even the water code. It therefore teases the mind why some members of the city council engage in nitpicking as if there is something to pick at all in this simple memorial enterprise?
I too find it rather odd why discussions would stray on the absurd like Fairfield and Eternal would contaminate the water wells when like the existing cemeteries in Baliok these two are over 200 meters away from any well. The laws and regulations mandate that projects of this nature should at least be 50 meters away from the main water source. But that is belaboring the issue.
Talking of contamination, Dacoville and Dumoy virtually sit on top of Davao City’s prime aquifers with every house hardly with waterproof toilets and waste disposals. If we go by the apprehension of some of my friends at the City Council, no housing or other industries will ever be constructed there.
But that does not make sense. DCWD deep wells go beyond surface waters and deep down to the strata where the water veins from recharge areas run. Pipes are sealed to prevent seepage. Thus even if Dacoville and Dumoy houses squat right on top of what we perceive to be the city’s prime water source, we still have to hear any bit of report of contamination.
Well to the comfort of some finicky councilors and oppositors, burial vaults in modern memorial parks are actually sealed just like your swimming pools. So don’t panic. If only to assuage your unfounded fear, think about Singapore. This city state pride itself of distilled-like water supply. Now don’t puke because much of their source is from their sewage and a little of rain.
My unsolicited advice to councilors: Just stick to whether or not all the legal requirements are met. If not, then disapprove it. If the proponents had submitted all the certifications and legal documents that were required of them then for heaven's sake do not subject the proponents to the circuitous maze of inquisition. Unless of course there are other agenda which Vice Mayor Duterte so consumedly detests.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 22, 2012.