To address the cremation backlog throughout the Cebu City because of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related deaths, Environment Secretary and Cebu COVID-19 response overseer Roy Cimatu is leading the search for areas that can be converted into burial sites.
Cimatu joined local environment officials in inspecting possible sites in the upland village of Sapangdaku where patients who died of the coronavirus disease can be buried.
“We have to immediately identify burial sites that are outside protected areas, and will pose no harm to the immediate community,” the environment chief said.
Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) commended the Cebu City government for opening a 3-hectare burial site in Sitio Catives II in the remote barangay (village) of Guba in Cebu City.
The Cebu City Council and the barangay officials of Guba, Sirao, Paril and Agsungot approved the proposal for the site’s use, acknowledging the need to safely manage the remains of COVID-19 patients and ensure the public’s health and safety.
The burial site in Guba will be called the Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden and is expected to create livelihood opportunities for the residents.
“The opening of the Guba facility will bring jobs to the community as the people can sell goods by the roadside.”
Councilor Dave Tumulak said the opening of the Guba facility “will bring jobs to the community as the people can sell goods by the roadside”.
Tumulak assured residents of Barangay Guba and neighboring localities that the cemetery will not pose any health risk to the community, amid reports that Guba sits on a watershed area and is part of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape managed by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB).
“I am willing to stake my name that the process is very thorough to ensure safety.”
“I saw how they (funeral parlors) handled the dead bodies, and I am willing to stake my name that the process is very thorough to ensure safety,” he was quoted as saying in an earlier statement from the IATF.
Melquiades Feliciano, who is assisting Cimatu in Cebu, welcomed the initiative in locating COVID-19 burial sites after the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) adopted a more proactive response to the pandemic.
“Forward planning and swift implementation will give Cebu City the edge it needs to defeat COVID-19. There is an urgent public health risk posed by the lack of crematories, so we have to do what we can and do it quickly,” Feliciano said.