Labella certifies measure to build cemetery as urgent

PROJECT SITE. This is an aerial view of the proposed site of a new public cemetery for Covid-19 mortalities in Barangay Sapangdaku. (Photo Courtesy of DENR 7)

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has certified as urgent the draft ordinance providing for the establishment of the Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden on a two-hectare government lot in Barangay Sapangdaku, instead of Barangay Guba.

Labella said the ordinance has to be approved before the City can proceed with any civil works at the site.

Although he has expressed support for the project and assured the approval of the ordinance, Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the provisions have to be ironed out and input from stakeholders considered first.

Rama said he will hold an online forum to discuss the project with representatives of Cebu City Council, executive department, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) together with the village chiefs of Sapangdaku and neighboring barangays.

The vice mayor, who is also the chairman of the committee on environment, said a barangay resolution has to be passed before the Council will act on the matter.

He also said concerns over the project should be addressed first.

“Ang finality gyud there will be an approval, pero ang importante, kay nindot naman ang pagsugod, ato lang i-plantsa kay naa may mga concern gyud nganong di nalang kanang container refrigerator,” said Rama.

In a video posted on the SunStar Cebu Facebook page, Sapangdaku Barangay Captain Jovito Ladrazo said they will wait for the public hearing or consultation.

Labella said there is no public transportation at the proposed site in Sitios Patayng Yuta and Baksan, but it may be accessed through a concrete road.

Opposition Councilor Alvin Dizon said he is in favor of the project, but it must comply with all environmental standards.

“I’m in favor of building a new public cemetery as long as it is in accordance and compliance to applicable laws, regulations and standards. The City also needs to explore other available options to have a restful place for our dead Covid-19 patients,” said Dizon.

He filed a resolution before the Council Wednesday, July 15, requesting DENR 7 to conduct an impartial investigation and demand full accountability from those who allowed the cutting of trees without a permit.

Earlier, Eddie Llamedo, chief of the DENR 7 Planning and Management Division, said the Cebu City Government may face charges for starting to develop the project site in Barangay Guba without the following: tree cutting permit, protective area management plan, and application for environmental compliance certificate from Environment Management Bureau (EMB).

Llamedo also said the EMB will have to assess whether the construction of a cemetery would not violate the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

The original proposed site for the cemetery was in Sitio Kateves in Barangay Guba, near an existing Muslim cemetery.

But the site lies within the Central Cebu Protected Landscape. Labella said the City decided not to pursue the project in Barangay Guba due to environmental concerns.

Llamedo said the DENR will launch an inventory of existing cemeteries within the watershed area next week.

He also said the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) has resolved to file legal action against the persons involved in illegal cutting of 389 mahogany trees at the proposed site in Guba. (JJL)


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