ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanews/24 November) – The remains of 25 unclaimed cadavers stored for almost a year at the Villa Funeral Homes here, were buried in a mass grave Friday at the city government-owned cemetery in Barangay Talabaan.
The burial was done after blessing rites officiated by a priest, a pastor and an imam.
Evelyn Las Marias, officer-in-charge of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), said 21 of the 25 cadavers were male adults, two adult females and two babies.
The mass burial was jointly organized by the CSWDO and the City Health Office.
Las Marias said the victims were either found dead in different areas in this city or were abandoned in hospitals. Cause of death varied — gunshot wounds, stabbing, old age, still born.
She said the city government decided to hold a mass burial since the remains were stored and unclaimed at the funeral parlor for almost a year. A city ordinance sates that unclaimed cadavers can be buried 30 days after storage.
She said the local government every year initiates a mass burial of unclaimed cadavers.
The city government shoulders the embalming, storage and burial expenses year round, she added.
The previous mass burial was on November 30, 2011 where 34 unclaimed cadavers were buried at the Talabaan public cemetery, where all unclaimed cadavers are buried.
Mayor Celso Lobregat, who ordered the mass burial, said unclaimed cadavers, regardless of the circumstances of death and regardless of personal background, deserve a decent burial. (MindaNews)