BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Bacolod City Administrator Edward Joseph Cuansing has sought the assistance of the police regarding the reported rampant theft and vandalism in the Burgos Public Cemetery in Bacolod City.
In his letter to acting Bacolod City Police Director Col. Thomas Joseph Martir dated October 27, Cuansing said that he was informed by General Services Officer Melvin Recabar of the matter. So, he requested that police personnel be assigned in the cemetery after office hours.
“May we therefore request that police personnel from Police Station 4 be tasked to check the Burgos Public Cemetery on a regular basis, particularly during the evening and early morning hours, or if possible, assign police personnel there,” Cuansing said.
He also sought the help of the police in implementing Executive Order. No. 50 series of 2021, which orders the temporary closure of all public and private cemeteries/memorial parks and columbaria from October 30 to November 2 subject to certain exceptions.
Meanwhile, Cuansing said that during a meeting with Recabar, he was informed that aside from theft incidents inside the cemeteries (including cases of missing tombstones made of marble), there are also cases where the remains of the dead are removed from their tombs and replaced by another dead body for a fee.
He requested Recabar to submit to him the names of the complainants so they could determine how many families have been victimized by unscrupulous individuals operating inside the cemetery, as well as identify all possibly entry points so these could be closed, he said.
Cuansing said the city has assigned caretakers in all public cemeteries but they go home after the gates are closed after 5 p.m.
The number one problem is that the city does not have security personnel to guard the cemetery. So, he requested the assistance of the police in the light of these reports of theft incidents, he said.
He recalled that last year, before the pandemic, the mayor has ordered that interments will no longer be allowed at the Burgos Public Cemetery. All interments will only be conducted at the Handumanan and Granada public cemeteries.
The Burgos Public Cemetery is being opened to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. since there are family members of the dead who still come to visit, Cuansing said.
He also requested Recabar to seek the assistance of the City Legal Office Enforcement Unit concerning the presence of five persons who are reportedly still living inside the Burgos Public Cemetery even after clearing operations had been conducted by the city on orders of the Department of Interior and Local Government that government properties should be cleared of all illegal structures, he added.*