GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/December 21, 2011)—The dumping of the bodies of those who drowned in the Cagayan de Oro City flash floods – 79 at the latest count of MindaNews as of 11:30 p.m. Monday and could have risen to more than a hundred – is first degree crime. Such an act whether involving one dead person or hundreds or more is a crime.
No explanation from City Mayor Vicente Emano and the City Council is acceptable.
The mayor explained to the Philippine Daily Inquirer that (1) his government was forced to move the unclaimed cadavers from residential centers; (2) there is no other place to move them to but dumpsite; (3) the city government is building at the city cemetery a chamber for 200 where the bodies in the dumpsite would soon be transferred in individual coffins.
Can it be believed there is no decent place for the cadavers to lie while awaiting relatives to claim them or decent mass Christian burial? Can it be believed that the chamber could not be finished for 200 – most probably 50 meters by 3 meters –in 48 hours non-stop and 200 coffins cannot be made within the same period? There must be enough volunteers to do the work and the city must have enough money to buy the needed materials from city hardware stores.
But has Emano’s government really started building the chamber? No reports about that from Cagayan City based news reporters. But even if true, that cannot be an excuse in desecrating the dead. In fact, he avoided interviews.
In Iligan City, the government immediately built a two-level tomb apartment at the city cemetery and by Monday all unclaimed bodies, the Inquirer reported, had been decently laid to rest. And they could be easily claimed later.
That the number of dead is higher in Cagayan de Oro City is not the issue. The fault of Emano’s government is in desecrating the dead instead — dumping them as garbage in the city’s garbage dumpsite.
For the kind leaders Emano and members of the City Council are, they should be recalled and prosecuted as criminals. (Patricio P. Diaz. General Santos City/MindaNews)