MANILA, Philippines – Days after being placed near a dumpsite for processing, the remains of unidentified fatalities from Cagayan de Oro City were finally given some dignity as the identification processing was moved to a hangar.
City Mayor Vicente Emano said Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011, he managed to negotiate for the use of the hangar of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).
“Nang nabigyan kami ng pahintulot ni Henry Sy Jr., chairman (ng NGCP), nilipat namin ang mga patay sa hangar. Wala nang naiwan sa may basurahan (When we got permission from NGCP chairman Henry Sy Jr. to use the hangar for processing, we moved the bodies there. There are no more bodies near the dumpsite),” Emano said in an interview on dwIZ radio.
Emano acknowledged getting much flak for having the bodies dumped near the landfill.
But he insisted he agreed to have the bodies brought there first because no funeral parlor would accept them.
Also, he said that while he agreed to have the bodies initially brought to the landfill, he was already in “negotiations” to use the hangar.
“Nabatikos na ako (pero) hindi naman ililibing doon. Walang tumatanggap na punerarya, walang ibang paglagyan (kaya) pumayag ako. Pero at the same time nag-negotiate ako sa hangar ng Napocor (I’ve been pilloried for this but I want to clarify we never intended to have the bodies buried at the dumpsite. I agreed only because there was no other site to locate them; but at the same time I was negotiating for the use of the hangar),” he said.
For now, he said the hangar is the site of forensic processing by the National Bureau of Investigation and the police Scene of the Crime Operations teams.
On the other hand, Emano said he has ordered the construction of a tomb that can accommodate the bodies if they remain unclaimed.
“Matapos ma-tag at walang mag-claim ilalagay sa nitso (Once they are tagged and still no one claims them, they will be placed in the tomb),” he said.
He said the tomb can accommodate up to 150 bodies.
But he admitted that as of Wednesday night, a crisis committee meeting indicated the tomb may not be enough to accommodate the bodies, noting some 400 remain missing.
“Mga 648 ang patay, hinahanap more than 400, so gawa na naman nito (Our latest count includes 648 dead and 400 still missing. We may have to build more tombs),” he said. – Rappler.com