Cemetery project stirs eco-risk, health issues
FACE OFF. Board member Abeleon Damalerio, chairman on the committee on environmental protection, presided the joint-committee hearing on the cemetery issue with officials from LGU Guindulman led by Mayor Fe Piezas and GUINBUWSSCO board of directors led by Chairman Ramon Castro, held last Monday at the Capitol CPG Hall.
The plan of putting up a new public cemetery in the town of Guindulman had raised various issues; topped by environment, health and sanitation concerns.
In a joint committee hearing called by Sangguniang Panlalawigan environmental protection chairman Abeleon Damalerio, a report from the provincial health office revealed that water samples supplied to 10 barangays served by the local waterworks system had shown contamination that endangers health of the people.
The site of the proposed cemetery project in Barangay Guio-ang is an area where the underground springs and pumping wells of the waterworks system are also located.
PHO head Dr. Reymoses Cabagnot said aside from the other issues involved in the plan for a cemetery/ memorial park, the primary consideration should focus on the health safeguards or effects on the water supply in the area.
The Guindulman Ilaw ng Buhay Water and Sanitation Service Cooperative (GUINBUWASSCO), the water system operator in the town earlier sent a Board resolution to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and to Governor Edgar Chatto to help them convince Guindulman Mayor Maria Fe Piezas not to pursue the cemetery project in Barangay Guio-ang citing the source of water located in the same area.
Mayor Piezas, in presenting the project profile said the memorial park type of cemetery will not involved land excavation but is designed in niches above the ground and patterned after the Tagum City Memorial Park which has won various awards.
GUINBUWASSCO Chairman of the Board Ramon Castro said in explaining their position that they are not against the project; in fact they admire the visions of the Mayor.
“What we are asking is that the LGU looks for another site, but not in Guio-ang for the source of the water supply is within the subterranean level of the area. Cemetery, no mater how modern is the design is still subject to natural changes resulting from calamities or man made disasters. When this happens, the water supply source will be affected,” Castro said.
It was also found out that the Municipal Planning and Development Office had not consulted with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board which is the proper agency that regulates cemetery and memorial park projects.
HLURB regulations prohibits establishment of memorial parks/ cemeteries in areas where there are water sources within 4.05 below ground level and in areas where there are communities (subdivisions), main traffic arteries, churches and schools.
Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Nestor Canda said such cemetery project indeed elicits various opposition and other issues.
“Kining proyekto ug cementerio manghod lang ni diutay sa sanitary land fill project which involves many environmental impact and social issues. This must be studied carefully,” Canda said.