LUCENA CITY—Local government unity and heritage protection advocates have joined efforts to preserve and protect the city’s remaining physical cultural heritages.
Vladimir Nieto, head of Konseho ng Herencia ng Lucena (KHL), said their group has agreed to work alongside the city government to ensure that the ancient graves inside the nearly century-old public cemetery will be preserved while that the city undertakes to rehabilitate the tomb. .
KHL members met on Thursday with representatives of the city council‘s Committee on Tourism, Culture, Urban Planning and Development Office (CPDO) and the city’s engineering office where the heritage group was invited to help ensure that the guidelines established by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) would be followed, particularly in the preservation of the graves of local heroes and prominent figures, Nieto said.
Nieto said KHL will assist the local government in heritage mapping of the old public cemetery to expedite the process.
He pointed out that demolishing the old cemetery without permission from the NHCP will be a violation of Republic Act No. 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, since decorated graves have cultural and heritage value. .
Juliet Aparicio, head of CPDO, said the rehabilitation of the 2.6 hectare cemetery at Barangay Ibabang Dupay will continue with the help of KHL.
“Once we receive the permit or notice to proceed from the NHCP, we will begin the rehabilitation of the old cemetery as planned,” Aparicio said.
Intervention of the PNLS
The decades-old concrete graves in different parts of the cemetery will be preserved and integrated into the landscape of the rehabilitated cemetery, she said.
Earlier, KHL raised concerns about the possible destruction of concrete graves after Mayor Roderick Alcala announced the city’s plan to rehabilitate the public cemetery, including the construction of bone crypts and graves of apartment type, to provide additional final resting places for indigent residents.
No burials have been made at the cemetery in recent years since all its spaces are occupied. The city government operates another public cemetery, with apartment-type graves, in the nearby village of Market View.
On November 10, the NHCP wrote to Alcala asking the mayor to submit the proposed layout plan for the cemetery and other necessary documents to his office for review and approval.
“Please note that under RA 10066, structures that are at least fifty years old may be considered Important Cultural Property and must be protected from alteration or demolition,” the NHCP said in the letter.
Formerly called “Camposanto de Municipio Lucena”, the cemetery was established in 1928. It is also where land donor Crisanto Marquez, former municipal president of Lucena, was buried, said local historian Carlos Villariba.
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