“DON’T disturb the dead.”

This was what former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña said when he received news that the current Cebu City administration was going ahead with its plans to convert the Osmeña Mausoleum, popularly known as Doña Pepang Cemetery, into a heritage site.

Osmeña, in a text message sent to SunStar Cebu on March 26, 2023, said the City did not consult the family of Don Sergio Osmeña about its plans to rehabilitate the area.

“The family of Don Sergio was not consulted on any plans for the mausoleum that Don Sergio built for his wife and family,” said the former mayor who is the grandson of Don Sergio.

Doña Pepang Cemetery, which is located in Barangay Tejero, is the burial place of former president Sergio Osmeña Sr. and other family members of the prominent Osmeña clan.

Mayor Michael Rama’s administration is converting the cemetery into a heritage park.

Ramil Ayuman, special assistant to the mayor, said the families of those who are buried in the cemetery can still enter and visit their loved ones, adding that the main concern of the City is to remove and ensure that there will no longer be any illegal structures in the area.

Ayuman said based on the latest data he got, there are around 2,021 deceased people who are currently buried in the cemetery.

Last March 21, Rama’s office released a notice ordering the owners of the illegal structures in the area to vacate the place. Owners of the illegal structures and houses only have until April 4 to clear the area.

Ayuman said that by April 4, a fence will be put up in the area to keep out outsiders and to ensure that no illegal structures will be built inside.

Rama already approved the design of the proposed heritage park and instructed Ayuman to finish the redevelopment by June 12 this year in time for Independence Day.