FOR its proposed cemetery project to push through, the Cebu City Government will address the concerns of the Department of Health (DOH) 7.
City Councilor Dave Tumulak, the proponent of the cemetery ordinance, said it is important for the City to establish a free cemetery for constituents who may not be able to afford a burial plot.
The DOH 7 refused to issue an initial clearance for the City to proceed with the construction of the Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden because of the site, which is located in Sitios Yuta and Baksan in the mountain barangay of Sapangdaku.
According to DOH 7 spokesperson Mary Jean Loreche, it is near a river and is prone to landslide.
Tumulak said the City will submit a development plan to address the concern of runoff water in the area.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu approved the site when he inspected it last July.
The two-hectare property was given by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, through Cimatu, to the City for the latter’s cemetery project.
Tumulak said the City is willing to reduce the land area to 1.2 hectares if need be.
Cebu City is home to 15 cemeteries but these are either private or run by the Cebu Archdiocese.
Tumulak said the cemetery will also serve constituents in the future.
Mayor Edgardo Labella earlier said he would meet with officials of the DOH 7, the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau 7 and other concerned agencies to discuss the project.
Tumulak’s cemetery ordinance has yet to be approved, pending the City’s compliance of requirements for the project.
The construction of a City-owned cemetery became a priority when the number of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases spiked last June and July and the City was anticipating the number of fatalities to also go up.
The death rate for Covid-19 cases in Cebu City was 55 percent in June and 26 percent in July, according to City Councilor Joel Garganera, Emergency Operations Center deputy chief implementer.
In August, the death rate fell to three percent. So far this month, the death rate is down to 1.5 percent with the DOH 7 recording 23 deaths from Sept. 1 to Sept. 21.
Tumulak said existing cemeteries have been able to accommodate the number of deaths in the city.
He added that there is no longer a pileup of bodies or a waiting list in crematories and burial sites. (JJL)