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The Living and the Dead Compete for Space in Cebu
« on: December 10, 2010, 07:35:13 PM »
For many years, the dead and the living competed for “living space” in the old and crowded Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery in Cebu City.

In the end, the living won and the dead have to be relocated.

On Friday, Cebu City Hall personnel started digging the graves at the Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery to pave the way for the Gawad Kalinga Village, a socialized housing project that will benefit the informal settlers in the area.

Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon said the City Council committee on housing has obtained permits from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Health (DOH) and the City Health Department (CHD) to exhume the graves.

The contents of about 3,000 graves will either be placed in a bone chamber or buried in another cemetery.

Those who want to transfer the bodies of their loved ones can do so as long as they secure the necessary permits, Dizon said.

Many urban poor families have long called the Lorega-San Miguel Cemetery their home.

Cebu City officials have been discussing the closure of the cemetery long before the housing project was proposed because it violated certain provisions of the Sanitation Code of the Philippines.

The law states that cemeteries have to be 25 meters away from settlements and 50 meters from water sources.

Dizon said the construction of a low-rise residential building will start after the completion of the dig.

The Gawad Kalinga Village, a project approved by the 12th Sangunniang Panglungsod, will have eight buildings that will each accommodate 60 families. Around 300 households will benefit from the project.

Dizon said the city government has yet to finalize the monthly rent of the units. He assured the rent would be made affordable to beneficiaries.

The units will be constructed by Gawad Kalinga and JJ&J Construction, with each building to cost P15 million. Construction will take five to six months.

For now, only one building will be constructed and will be funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund of former Congressman Raul del Mar (Cebu City, North District), and several nongovernment organizations.

Gawad Kalinga’s Tanny Go said they hope more will invest to build the other buildings. (PNA)

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