THE Cebu City Council has authorized Mayor Edgardo Labella to apply for reclassification of the two-hectare property in Barangay Sapangdaku where the Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden will be consructed.
The reclassification is necessary in order for the property to be developed without any legal setbacks.
The two-hectare property situated in Sitios Patayng Yuta and Baksan is currently classified as timberland, thus it is considered under public domain and cannot be titled.
During their weekly session, a resolution sponsored by City Councilor Phillip Zafra sought the reclassification of the two-hectare property in Sapangdaku as provided under the Public Land Act which allows the transfer of classification through the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Zafra added that the DENR can also issue a special land use permit (SLUP) for the public use of the property.
The City Council also requested the DENR to approve with urgency its application for the SLUP and the Forest Land Use Agreement provided all legal requirements are complete.
It also further requested the DENR to waive the rental fees and bonds of the two-hectare property.
In a separate resolution, the City Council also interposes no objection for the establishment of the cemetery subject to the full compliance of national and local laws and regulations.
Eddie Llamedo, chief of the DENR 7 Planning and Management Division, said DENR 7 Director Paquito Melicor Jr. sent a letter to the Council containing the list of resolutions the Council needs to enact.
The list of resolutions the Council needs to pass are the following: (1) resolution amending the existing Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) in view of the variance with the establishment of the cemetery; (2) resolution endorsing or interposing no objection on the development of the project; (3) resolution to authorize Labella to apply and sign in behalf of the City in various permitting requirements; (4) enact an ordinance on the Cebu City Memorial Garden for Covid-19 victims; and (5) barangay resolution interposing no objection over the project.
Llamedo said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has instructed the DENR 7 officials to provide the necessary support to the City including the “minimal payment for any tenure instruments or memorandum of agreement that will be issued.”
Cimatu has also instructed them to minimize the cutting of trees for the construction of the cemetery as much as posible, said Llamedo.
He also assured that the DENR will facilitate and assist the City Government in all the processes the City needs to comply with for the project.
The establishment of the cemetery, according to the approved resolution, is to address the unprecedented rise in deaths due to Covid-19 and the urgency to bury the remains of those who died from the disease.
The City Council noted that the increasing number of deaths has made the existing public cemeteries in the city reach their full capacity.
It also reiterated that the cemetery will cater to Cebu City residents for free.
Covid-19 has killed a total of 408 people in Cebu City as of July 17, 2020. The city has 3,166 active Covid-19 cases. (JJL)