During the public hearing yesterday, several personalities and groups voiced their opposition on the proposed multi-faith cemetery. The lot that used to be the Osmeña Shrine was donated by the Cebu City government to the Evangelical Christian Coalition of Cebu Inc. (ECCCI) days before the May 2010 elections.
Lahug Barangay Councilor Mary Ann De los Santos – The property is in Barangay Lahug not in Kalunasan and the city government never consulted its leaders. She wants the deal to be voided. Making it a cemetery could also violate city zoning rules. The property is classified as rural-residential. She also insinuated that the timing of the donation in relation to the elections.
Girl Scouts of the Philippines Visayas represented by egional Executive Director Aida Saromines – The shrine is near the water source of several deep wells in the area including that of Camp Marina. Having a cemetery might affect the water quality in the area.
Beverly Glen Homeowners Association (BGHA) led by its president Luis Villalon – In their letter to Mayor Mike Rama mentioned health and environmental factors as reasons to oppose the project. The same argument were made by Beverly Hills Homeowners and the group also opined that the cemetery violates zoning laws.
Kalunasan Barangay Captain Nunilon Monares Jr. – His constituents and nearby villages are opposed to the conversion of the 4 hectare property into a cemetery.
Capitol Consultant Atty. Lito Astillero – The donation may violate the original provisions of the donation of the said property form the Provincial government to the City government years back. He also noted that there was a decrease in enrollment in his school The Lyceum of Cebu upon the news of having a cemetery near the school. He said some students fear that they will see ghosts in the school.
Villa Remedios Homeowners Association head Edmundo Vinzon – He feared that the cemetery will hamper development in the area because cemetery might affect the road network.
Congressman Tomas Osmeña – The minority deserves a cemetery. He said he has donated lots for Muslims before. By giving non-catholic constituents a decent burial ground is showing the residents of the city that the city officials serve even the minority. The area of the cemetery is well-drained and forested so fear of contamination is just psychological. He even offered to finance the construction of a water purification plants for the water sources in the area.
Romeo Borado, head of the evangelical coalition – He was thankful that the city has given the protestant community a place to bury their departed loved ones.
caloycomment: With the growing population of Cebu, graveyards will be scarce in the future. The intentions of City government is good but the public must also have the right to voice out concerns about the donation. The public hearing is a good venue and hopefully the council will come out with a resolution that will be satisfactory to all concerned parties.