6 Cebu City cemeteries run out of burial spaces

John Sitchon
6 Cebu City cemeteries run out of burial spaces

Queen City Memorial Garden. (Photo from John Sitchon)

john sitchon/rappler

(1st UPDATE) Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak says they are still unsure if the rise in COVID-19-related deaths is the reason for the overfilled burial grounds

At least 6 cemeteries in Cebu City were identified as either reaching or about to reach full capacity, City Councilor David Tumulak said Wednesday, July 28.

Tumulak provided Rappler with the list of brimful cemeteries, and said: “This started in July when we started noticing unusual (increase in) burials.”

Based on the list, 5 cemeteries no longer had available burial chambers and niches, namely:

  • Pardo Roman Catholic Cemetery,
  • Calamba Cemetery,
  • Queen City Memorial Garden, and
  • the Municipal and Veterans cemeteries along A. Lopez Street.

Wala na jud mi available nga burial chambers diri sa cemetery,” said Queen City Memorial Garden cemetery administrator Dam Delantar in a phone interview with Rappler, confirming Tumulak’s list.

(We no longer have available burial chambers in the cemetery)

Carreta Cemetery, the 6th burial site in Tumulak’s list, only had 4 niches as of Monday, July 26.

The councilor said that there was a rise in the number of deaths in Cebu City for the month of July.

“We requested the doctors from the city health department to thoroughly investigate, extract more information so we would know the reason or cause of deaths,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Health Department (CCHD) Cadaver Division noted the rise in deaths and was monitoring funeral parlors and cemeteries since the beginning of the pandemic.

“As of July 27, we have 64 death certificates which have to be verified whether or not they were COVID-19 related,” said CCHD Cadaver Division head Dr. Alice Aycardo.

According to Aycardo, the cemeteries were still waiting for the exhumations of long-time remains while more bodies were scheduled for burials.

Aycardo also confirmed that there was an increase in the number of deaths from June to July.

“We verified in June that there were 554 deaths nga minusan pana (to be subtracted) with number of COVID deaths. In July, ang na verify na is 557 nga minusan pa sad ug (we’ve verified 557 that is also have to be subtracted by) COVID-19 related deaths,” she said.

Data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) showed that from June 1 to June 30, there were 11 deaths in Cebu City attributed to the coronavirus disease. From July 1 to July 28, there were a total of 32.

As of this writing, the division head assured that the CCHD has met with the funeral parlors in the city and the cemeteries’ administrators in mountainous barangays to come up with more solutions to the increasing number of burials.

Close monitoring lang jud ta (It’s really just close monitoring),” she said.

While it was still unsure if these deaths were COVID-19 related, data from the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) showed that from July 1 to July 28, there were 32 deaths in Cebu City attributed to the coronavirus disease.

“One of the solutions we are looking at is to call the cemetery administrators to look into the possibility of additional niches to be made. If they can invest, or in some other way, how the city can extend assistance to them,” Tumulak added.

As of this writing, Tumulak said that the city government has also sent teams to inspect cemeteries in the mountainous barangays of Cebu City to check if there were still any available slots for new burials.

“We will also tap the national government to help us find places where we can establish decent burial sites, not only for COVID-19 related deaths, but also for others,” he said. –