Friday, November 12, 2010

Lorega families prepare to bid graves goodbye

AFTER 74 years, today will be the last All Souls’ Day at the Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery, which will be closed to give way to a P13.1-million socialized housing project.

Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon said the closure should have been imposed late October, but the families and relatives of those who buried in the cemetery asked the City Government to extend it until after All Souls’ Day.

In his visit to the cemetery yesterday, Dizon said the exhumation of the bones will start in the second or third week of November.

According to Dizon, they only lack the certification from the Palace of Justice, which is looking into the background of those who have been buried in the cemetery, particularly if are involved in any pending cases.

Dizon said they expect the certification to be released by the Palace of Justice next week.

Of the 3,012 bodies buried inside the Lorega cemetery, 362 will be displaced by the socialized housing project. The bones that will be exhumed will be temporarily placed in a bone chamber inside the facility.

The remaining 2,650, Dizon said, will soon be removed to give way to further site developments.

The City Health Department (CHD) has already posted notices announcing that the cemetery will now be closed for burial.

It no longer meets the safety standards mandated by Section 6, Article 21 of Presidential Decree 856 or the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.

“We have to close this because it is no longer compliant with the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, which states that a cemetery should be 25 meters away from dwelling places and 50 meters away from the water source. So we have to close this to eliminate the threat to public health,” Dizon said.

The actual construction of the project, Dizon said, will start by December and will be finished within six months. JJ&J Construction will build it.

Of the total amount intended to fund the socialized housing project in Lorega, P10 million came from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of Rep. Rachel del Mar, while the remaining P3 million came from several non-government organizations.

At least 60 families are set to benefit from the housing project.

Asked about the mode of payment once the housing project will be in place, Dizon said the Local Housing Board is leaning towards having it rented, saying it will be an additional financial burden to the families if a rent-to-own scheme is chosen.

If the houses will be rented, families will have to pay P500 to P750, compared to P2,000 to P3,000 if they will have a rent-to-own scheme, Dizon said.

Payments will be used for the maintenance of the housing project.

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