Cebu City’s cemetery project ‘can wait’

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THE Cebu City Government will push through with its plan to build a cemetery, but it’s not a priority.

City Councilor Dave Tumulak, the project’s proponent, said mortalities remain low despite the recent increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases in the city.

Records of the Emergency Operations Center show that the current fatality rate is 4.82 percent, up from 0.75 percent in January.

As of Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, the city logged a total of 14,822 cases since the start of the pandemic in March last year and 714 deaths.

“As of this moment, a new cemetery is not really necessary because the number of mortalities is quite few,” Tumulak said in a mix of Cebuano and English.

He said the management of existing cemeteries has not given the City a “red flag,” which means they are not overwhelmed with dead bodies.

When the city experienced a surge of Covid-19 cases in June, many deaths were attributed to the disease, which prompted the City to build a new cemetery, which will be called the Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden. It will be located in Barangay Sapangdaku.

The project stalled following environmental concerns and complaints raised by residents in the area.

The Department of Health 7 did not give the project a go-ahead because the proposed site is near a river and is prone to landslides.

In July 2020, residents launched a signature campaign that raised two concerns: the possible contamination of their water supply and the narrow road going to the area.

Barangay Sapangdaku, too, has yet to issue a certificate of no objection to the City Government.

City Planning and Development Office head Kenneth Carmelita Enriquez confirmed that the project has no barangay clearance. (JJL)