FLORIDABLANCA --- Residents in Barangay Fortuna here are opposing the construction of the four-hectare Eleganstone Memorial Park (EMP) located beside the tank of the town's water district due to health and environment hazards.

This was learned from Fortuna village chairman Arturo Laxamana said the construction of the EMP, owned by spouses Arturo Navarro and Caridad Sapnu-Navarro.

On July 25, 2006, Laxamana said the Sangguniang Barangay in Fortuna passed Resolution No. 35 rejecting the request of EMP for barangay clearance because of its proximity to the barangay water system.

On October 24, 2005 the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) passed Resolution No. 104 opposing also the construction of the EMP on the ground that “chloroform” was found extant in Barangay Fortuna during the investigation conducted by the SB’s Committee on Health and Sanitation.

As a sign of protest for the impending opening of EMP, residents have voluntarily put several streamers which states “No to Memorial!”, according to the village chief.

Other streamers state, “Magkanu ing Mayor’s Permit? (November 2016),” and “Hindi tapunan ng patay ang Fortuna!”

Last January 31, 2017, Laxamana said EMP’s administrative officer Roy Sanchez applied for a barangay business clearance but was denied issuance by the village officials.

“Despite our refusal for their permits in our barangay, tutuluy da pa rin pu ing pamanayus keng opening da keng March na pu kanu. Kayabe da pu reng memaryu ku ikami pu tutul na tutul kami keng pamamuklat na ning memorial park ayan uli ning sakit a idulut na kareng memaryu at kasiping baryu,” Laxamana stressed.

The Water District office's water tank, which is 650 feet deep, is beside the EMP’s well.

Laxamana said the EMP executive, for their side, explained that the bodies will be buried six to seven feet with concrete tomb using water proof cement.

However, experts from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said there’s no such thing as waterproof cement because of seepage that would leak on small holes.

Records showed that with Mayor Eduardo Guerrero's nine-year term, EMP failed to secure any permit from the local government unit due to risk the project poses to the residents in Barangays Fortuna, Maligaya, San Antonio and Poblacion.

Last November 2016, Laxamana said that EMP was able to get a mayors permit to proceed with the memorial park construction.

Despite a Supreme Court promulgation in favor of the project, Laxamana said they will still oppose the erection of the memorial park to protect the welfare of the 4,000 residents in his barangay.

Laxamana and the other barangay officials are appealing to municipal and provincial officials to intercede on the issue.