Cebu City starts developing burial site for COVID-19 fatalities

CEBU CITY – The Cebu City government has started to construct and develop a three-hectare lot in Sitio Catives II for the proposed burial site of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) fatalities.

(Photo courtesy of Cebu PIO / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Photo courtesy of Cebu PIO / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was after the chairpersons of Barangays Guba, Sirao, Paril and Agsungot – all in Cebu City – who approved the proposal on the first week of July.

The cemetery will be run and managed by the Cebu City government as part of its efforts to safely manage the remains of COVID-19 patients, and ensure public health concerns.

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, chairperson of the SP-Committee on Risk Reduction and Management, said that the cemetery will be called the “Cebu City Botanical Memorial Garden”, and he assured barangay residents within the area that the cemetery will not pose any health risk to the community.

“I saw how the funeral parlors handled the bodies and I am willing to stake my name that the process is very thorough to ensure safety.  It can even help create livelihood opportunities for residents.  The opening of this facility will bring jobs to the community. People can sell goods by the roadside, for example,” Tumulak said during the dialogue with the barangay chairpersons.

Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, led by Land Management Office Head Atty. Jeneses Ponce, and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Visayas conducted a site visit in Sitio Catives II last week to assess on-site preparations being made.

The IATF, represented by Johnnel Rañeses for the Visayas Deputy Chief Implementer Maj. Gen. Mel Feliciano, thanked barangay chairpersons Orland Herrera of Guba, Flaviano Gabunada of Sirao, Neresa Doncillo of Paril, and Pedro Damaolao of Agsungot, for their support and cooperation.

In similar development, the Cebu City government and the IATF-MEID beefed up the COVID-19 response mechanisms here with the introduction of the Barangay Referral System that aims to strengthen their capacity to identify COVID-19 cases.

During a virtual teleconference with Feliciano and the barangay chairpersons of Cebu City asked the barangay leaders to provide recommendations based on their experiences on the ground.  Their inputs will be used to improve the referral system to tailor-fit to the needs of the respective barangays for faster and more efficient identification of COVID-19 cases in their communities.

The proposed referral system features a step-by-step guide on where to refer suspected COVID cases and is designed to make the work of barangay officials and other emergency responders easier and  transform the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) into a proactive response mechanism that will strengthen the city’s capacity to combat the disease, Feliciano added.