April 17, 2024

The sorry state of Baguio’s lone public cemetery merits serious attention, not only from the city government but also by other stakeholders who could help in the efforts to provide the departed with a serene resting place.
The 9.5-hectare public cemetery was declared congested several years ago, but until now, the challenge of finding an appropriate expansion site remains.
To ease the congestion, the city government constructed condominium-type tombs, which is a welcome move considering the need to maximize the limited space.
But a recent visit to the public graveyard facility revealed that after several years, almost one block of the condo-type tombs remains unoccupied, which means that residents still prefer a separate tomb for their departed loved ones.
Like in other highly-urbanized cities where there is a serious concern on the scarcity of lots, it is high time families consider patronizing the condo-type tombs, if only to help address the decongestion problem at the City Public Cemetery, a facility that has been operating since the 1930s or at a time the average number of dead individuals brought to the area was not yet a concern.
We acknowledge the efforts to setting up of a crematorium within the facility, which, unfortunately did not materialize as the idea is a hard sell for several city residents who are not yet convinced of the practice of burning their dead due to cultural beliefs. Cremation, however, is a good alternative for families that do not have cultural prohibitions when it comes to burying their departed loved ones. The development of private memorial grounds has also been helpful.
For now, locating an expansion area remains the best solution to end the congestion woes at the public cemetery.
Two years ago, the previous city council approved on first reading an ordinance declaring a government lot with an area of more than 120 hectares at Irisan barangay as a new public cemetery but the public has not heard any update on such plan.
It’s a tough challenge for government planners to balance the need for a wider common graveyard and the need to provide a decent site to accommodate the housing needs and other basic needs of the living, among other things, especially in a city that accommodates more than 400,000 individuals in a 57.5-kilometer-square area.
This is why we call on stakeholders to help, if not in locating an ideal expansion area, then at least, in patronizing the remedies being offered to ensure that the only available public burial ground will continue serving its purpose.
All we want is a decent place where we could bring our departed loved ones. Let us help the city government provide an orderly resting ground for the dead. After all, the departed deserve utmost peace when they are laid to rest.