GENERAL SANTOS CITY – The city government has started the preparatory phase for the construction of its PHP25-million crematorium.
Engr. Emerald Signar, head of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO), said Thursday they are already in the planning stage of the project, which is targeted to start before the end of the year or in the first quarter of 2022.
He said their personnel are currently studying various crematorium models and researching online for the project.
The CEO had planned to conduct benchmarking activities on existing crematoriums, including the city’s lone facility operated by Monte Cielo Eternal Garden, but they were shelved due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“The planning process is ongoing and we will start the project’s construction once we complete the necessary details and other requirements,” Signar said in an interview.
The crematorium is among the priority projects being pushed by the city government in line with the continuing expansion of the Antonio C. Acharon Memorial Parkin Barangay Fatima.
The facility will be established within the 5.9-hectare memorial park, which is managed by the City Housing and Land Management Office (CHLMO).
Mary Ann Calonzo Tan, CHLMO head, said they pushed for the construction of the crematorium as early as 2014 to provide a more affordable burial alternative for deceased residents.
She said the proposed project initially gained positive feedback from city officials, especially Mayor Ronnel Rivera, and some local residents.
But a survey conducted by their office showed that most residents were not yet ready to adopt cremation as a burial alternative.
“Some people believed then that cremation is more expensive than our traditional burial practices,” she said.
Tan said they proposed anew last year the establishment of the city crematorium that was eventually approved as part of the local government’s pandemic response.
Acceptance to cremation among residents has increased since last year as it turned out to be a cheaper burial alternative in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Monte Cielo, the city’s first crematorium, currently offers cremation services starting at PHP25,000. (PNA)