Cagayan de Oro city government starts development of Bolonsiri cemetery

By : Bobby Lagsa Mindanao Today/11:40:43am 10/21/2021


The sweeping view of Bolonsori Cemetery in Barangay Camaman-an. The city government of Cagayan de Oro will start the redevelopment of the burial site this week. Completion of the project is expected in two years’ time. (Bobby Lagsa | Mindanao Today)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - The city government here will start today Tuesday, October 19, the redevelopment project of Bolonsori public cemetery in Barangay Camaman-an, of the city’s largest burial site with 19 hectares of land, but only 10 will be part of the reconstruction.

The project excluded nine hectares which is allocated for a relocation site for the city’s informal settler families.

Engr. Armen Cuenca, head of the City Local Environment and Natural Resources office, said that they have completed the planning phase of the project with an estimated cost of P367 million.

“The project will run for two years with the area divided into four phases in development,” Cuenca said.

He added that they would start with the construction of a columbarium and crematorium and apartment type niche that will serve as a perimeter fence.

“Even before the (Covid-19) pandemic, when we’re planning this, the crematorium was already in the plan. The columbarium will serve as the new niche for the remains of those buried here,” Cuenca added.

Sol Mosqueda, the focal person for the project, said the city government has to do the project in order to address the shortage of space in the cemetery.

He said that since 1982, they estimated that 50,000 were buried in the Bolonsiri cemetery and that there’s no more area.

“This is a problem of space management and we need to standardize our cemeteries,” Mosqueda said.

Across the city, there are 21 cemeteries including four private cemeteries.

For the public cemeteries, the city government needs to redevelop them in order to address the shortage of space.

Mosqueda said that they also need to relocate some 355 households living within and inside the cemetery.

Concern of residents

For 25-year-old Yolly Almonte who was born and grew up inside the cemetery, the redevelopment would spell the loss of her daily income maintaining graves for their customers.

“I grew up here, we tend to graves, from which since I can remember is our job if they are going to redevelop this, we will end up with no work,” Almonte said.

Fe Genese, who also lives inside the cemetery, said that she too will lose her job cleaning graves.

“My daily income of 300 pesos will be gone as surely, the development here will mean I will have to look for other means,” Genese said.

Some vendors selling flowers, candles will also lose their dwellings.

According to Cuenca, vendors identified by the city government will have priority space for the commercial center at the front of the cemetery.

United Methodist Church Pastor Kenneth Base has cautioned the government that utmost respect must be given to the remains buried inside the cemetery.

“As respect to our dear departed, we buried them here with love and respect, and this plan to transfer them, should be the same way also,” Base said.

He added that prayers should be given prior to the transfer of the remains.

For Ustadh Misu Ari Manguis of the National Commission on Muslim Filipino (NCMF), the transfer of remains of Muslim is allowed if there is a necessity for it.

“In Islamic teaching, if the remains need to be transferred from one site to another, that is okay as long as it necessary,” Manguis said.

Cuenca said that those buried will not be transferred anymore, “only those above ground, in a niche shall be transferred.”

For those buried below ground, the city will construct a memorial ground where names of those registered buried below ground will be written.

“There are those who are buried here whose relatives have forgotten them already, we will write their names in memorial walls, we have a registry for this,” Cuenca said.

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