A SUM of P50 million is set for the construction of a city-owned crematorium, which will be in Bago Oshiro in Mintal, Davao City this year.

City Economic Enterprise office head Jose Elmario Guintadcan said in Monday's department heads meeting, the plans for the creation of a city-owned crematorium eyed to address a shortage of burial space in the city, which can be afforded by the majority.

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Guintadcan said crematorium will be constructed on a 9,239 square meters city-owned lot in Bago Oshiro. The P5 million budget is part of the city's loan to the Land Bank of the Philippines in 2009 along with the modernization of traffic lights and installation of closed-circuit television cameras in the city's busy areas.

"This is also a more healthy approach to having burial rights," Guintadcan said Monday.

"Having a crematorium will address the problem of families or relatives of someone who passed away who have to resort to renting a burial space as what's happening in Wireless Cemetery. This way they are able to perform burial rights in a way that can be accommodated by their budget," Guintadcan said.

The feasibility study for the crematorium is already completed, he said, and a sanitary inspection was already held and thus the project already has a permit from the City Health Office.

"There are just a few documents we need to finalize; this includes the agreement from owners of adjacent lots to where we need to build the crematorium. We need their signatures that signify they agree the city will buy from them their lots for give way for the crematorium. After we finalize these then we can properly endorse this to the city council," Guintadcan said.

Guintadcan said the area where the crematorium will be constructed needs to be reclassified from a medium residential zone to a low residential zone, which needs to have the approval of the City Council.

The crematorium project will also have a columbarium and will be designed just like a memorial park.

"The trees that are already there should not be cut down except for those staying over the area where the building will be put up. The capacity of the columbarium is 1,800 times five. In each columbarium there were 1,800 vaults and each vault can accommodate about four to five urns," Guintadcan said.

The crematorium was previously planned to be constructed at Wireless Cemetery at Madapo Hills, but not much development can be done there yet since there are still existing contracts for space use until 2013. The plan for Madapo Hills, however, will still push through.

"Merong mga slots na 2008 lang na-rentahan and five years after pa ito mage-expire. So we can only construct after this. We would still construct a crematorium there in Wireless cemetery," Guintadcan said. (Jade C. Zaldivar)