Bacolod SP approves cemetery ordinance
AUTHORED by Councilor Wilson Gamboa, Jr., the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) approved last June 26, 2019 an ordinance detailing the management of cemeteries owned by the City Government in terms of easing congestion, health and sanitation practices, assignment and listing of burials and institutionalizing a system of processing and procedures for the proper disposal of the dead.
This recently approved Ordinance known as "Bacolod City Owned Cemeteries System Ordinance," shall allocate burial area or space in every city owned public cemetery for Muslims and shall be operated in accordance to the Islamic Faith and/or Islamic burial guidelines.
Gamboa said that the Cemetery Systems and Guidelines Ordinance likewise follows another related City Ordinance no. 08-16-777 also authored by him which was approved last June 17, 2016, and known as “An Ordinance Creating the Bacolod City Owned Cemetery Regulatory Board.”
This ordinance was crafted because the City of Bacolod owned cemeteries have no existing legislation for its operation and maintenance that will ensure the proper implementation of Implementing Rules and Regulations of Chapter XXI- “Disposal of Dead Persons” of the Code on Sanitation of the Philippines (P.D. 856).
Absence of existing systems and guidelines resulted to numerous complaints and news reports regarding congestions, tombs and niches are in a topsy-turvy arrangement, niches are open and tombstones are replaced without prior notice and permission, presence of uncollected and unsegregated garbage piled and are scattered along pathways and sides of niches and there are informal settlers inside with no public toilet, among others.
Said system and guidelines ordinance meantime detailed among others that under the management of various city government offices, the mandatory exhumation of the dead after five years, with the exception of those buried with contagious diseases, will strictly be implemented after payment of fees of P3,000.00 covering five years buried, P2,000.00 for children, exhumation permit of P100.00 and exhumation fee of P1,000.00 to be paid to the City Treasurer.
For those who decide to construct “Floating Niches”, the first user shall pay P1,000.00, the niche shall be constructed at the expense of the family/client subject to rules, and the niche shall become the property of the City after the five-year period when the exhumation shall be mandatory; the second and subsequent user shall pay P3,000.00 covering a period of five years.
Lead agency to implement this Ordinance is the General Services Office which shall manage, among others, the scheduling of burials, the recording and inventory of burials, preparation of statement of accounts for due rentals, the scheduling and conduct exhumation, and submission of accomplishment report to the City Planning Office
Other offices involved are the City Health Office for the issuance of Death Certificate; the City Mayor’s Office – Civil Security Unit which shall secures cemeteries against looting and illegal burials; the Local Civil Registrar, for the Registration of Death Certificate and the City Treasurer’s Office for the collection of appropriates fees
The ordinance therefore entails the construction of “Bone Boxes”, “Apartment Type Niche”, a four storey facility where fresh dead bodies are to be buried, “Individual Bone Chamber”, a five storey facility where exhumed cadavers upon the lapsed of five-year period is to be interred and a “Common Bone Chamber/ossuary”, a facility where unclaimed bones are to be re-interred without cost and those of the choice of the family.
The city, cited by the ordinance, shall allocate an initial budget of at least three million pesos (P3, 000,000.00) from the General Appropriation Fund for the rehabilitation, construction of the niches, facilities and equipment’s including operation and maintenance of the City Cemeteries.