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Cebu News

Rama revives plan for Pepang

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has revived his plan to convert the Osmeña Mausoleum, popularly known as the Doña Pepang Cemetery in Barangay Carreta, into a heritage park in line with his vision to transform the city into a place like Singapore.

“My concept in the lowland…all cemetery (sic) is of heritage value,” Rama told The Freeman.

Rama first brought up the idea of making the Doña Pepang Cemetery a heritage park in 2015 during his first term as mayor, but the plan was met with strong opposition from former mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Osmeña did everything legally possible to prevent such development by seeking a temporary restraining order from the court. The former mayor argued that he wants to protect the final resting place of his ancestors.

The cemetery was named after the late first lady Estefania “Doña Pepang” Veloso Osmeña, wife of the late president Sergio Osmeña, Sr. Both are also buried in the area along with the former mayor’s father, the late senator Serging.

 Tomas also used as an excuse the people living around the area. According to him, the proposed project would only displace the residents living in the area.

Although he failed to get a TRO after the court denied his petition, Osmeña somehow succeeded after beating Rama in the 2016 political derby. But with Rama back at the helm, the mayor believes it is time to pursue the project.

He intends to make it as the city’s main heritage park.

“We have to bring it as a heritage park ang Donya Pepang,” Rama said.

The mayor lamented that most people only value something during its occurrence but not its preservation.

“Ang mga tawo gud they only value when the significance occurred…but unmindful sila kay wala man pud silay cultural, religious, historical and artistry…but gitagaan man ko sa Ginoo ani, bata pa na apil-apilon...bata pa ko, leader na,” said Rama.

Rama already visited  the Doña Pepang Cemetery the other day.

“When I came in here, ang mga patay nangawa, ang mga buhi na ang mga nagpuyo,” he said.

A video by Ramil Ayuman, special assistant to the mayor, shows that the cemetery was filled with garbage and makeshift dwellings while a separate area was being utilized as parking lot for private vehicles.

“Tapok sa mga basura, mga stockpiles ug mga barong-barong, ug parking area sa mga pribadong sakyanan ug taxi…mao na ni karon ang nagpalibot sa umaabot na heritage site ang Osmena Mausoleum o mas naila nga Doña Pepang Cemetery,” Ayuman said.

The close to a hectare cemetery is previously owned by the Archdiocese of Cebu. It was included in a land swap deal back in 2011.

The mayor did not give a timeline but he already ordered the immediate clearing operation by the City Environment and Sanitation Team (CESET) personnel.

Also included in the clearing was the road beside the cemetery which was previously part of the reblocking project of the city government following a huge fire. Residents in the area reportedly agreed to clear the road from any obstruction.  – FPL (FREEMAN)

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