Briones: Not a priority

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

IS SAPANGDAKU Barangay Captain Juvie Lagraso an obstructionist for refusing to issue a certificate of no objection to the Cebu City Government’s proposed cemetery project in the upland village?

According to dictionary.com, an obstructionist is “a person who deliberately delays or prevents progress” or “a person who delays or obstructs the business before a legislative body by parliamentary contrivances or legalistic maneuvers.”

Based on the above definition, he may as well be.

Editha Peros, head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, seems to think so. By her statements, it would look like Lagraso is sitting on the certificate, which is required before the City can proceed with the project.

But did you know that last July, the project got the support of villagers who attended a public hearing with officials of City Hall and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7? Lagraso said so himself back then.

In fairness to Peros, she did not mention any names. She also pointed out that residents of a subdivision near the proposed site are opposed to the project.

I get it. The objectors should have said so during last July’s public hearing, which they didn’t even bother to attend. Of course, Peros should have mentioned that the city was on enhanced community quarantine during that time, which would explain why the objectors’ signature campaign was launched weeks later when movement restrictions were eased.

But never mind that. I think what she really meant when she called out the barangay was that Lagraso should have just issued the certification despite the objection, which wouldn’t make sense since it’s a certification of no objection.

Or maybe I’m reading it all wrong and Peros was just stating facts.

Maybe she’s just frustrated that aside from the certification from the barangay, the City has failed to meet other requirements.

For example, its application for a special land use permit is pending before the DENR. And before that can be approved, the application needs to go through the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. I’m sure that will take time.

Also, the City has yet to secure an environmental compliance certificate from the Environmental Management Bureau 7 and a clearance from the Department of Health 7.

You see, the proposed cemetery site is located near a river and is prone to landslides.

Imagine what will happen after a flood. Nobody wants to wake up with parts of a skeleton washed up on his backyard or doorstep.

So maybe Peros is resigned to the fact that this project may never get off the ground despite the assurance of City Planning Head Joel Reston.

After all, the need for a new cemetery is not so pressing anymore.