EIGHTEEN stacked tombs inside the Tanza public cemetery in City Proper, Iloilo collapsed this week following heavy downpours, according to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO).
CENRO head Engr. Noel Hechanova said the tombs contained 27 remains of individuals who died between 1992 and 2016.
He appealed to the concerned families to go to their office so they could transfer the remains to a temporary graveyard. They will look for a vacant graveyard within the cemetery.
“We have ways to identify the skeletons if ever they have mixed. Our next step will be to sanitize the area because we have yet to identify how many remains are relatively fresh. We will use lime to sanitize,” he said.
Sanitation is an urgent concern, said Hechanova, to avoid the possible spread of diseases.
Aside from the rains, the four-story “apartment tombs” collapsed as these were old and substandard, he said.
Hechanova noted that this is not the first time that tombs at Tanza cemetery buckled. The last time he could recall was in 2013 involving 27 tombs.
“The construction was unregulated and was not according to standard. Amo na ang kabangdanan nga nag-soften ang ground bangod sa ulan. Kag sa kadaanon sang struktura amo nga narumpag siya,” he said.
He said they will also temporarily rehabilitate the collapsed area. CENRO will request a budget from the Office of the City Mayor for the rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, Hechanova said he is coordinating with the City Engineer’s Office for the permanent rehabilitation of the Tanza cemetery, the largest public cemetery in the city with more than 10,000 tombs.
The other two public cemeteries are in Jaro and La Paz districts.
The rehabilitation will be done in phases.
“We already have a budget of about more than P1 million and is already with the City Engineer’s Office. We will start with its portion along Delgado Street. Dugay na ina ang budget I don’t know ngaa wala pa maumpisahan,” he said.