Lately, residents of Barangay Marungko in Angat, Bulacan felt nervous, worried, and anxious about the news that the proposed memorial park, which they thought was successfully shelved five years ago due to their strong opposition, is again starting to roll. The said memorial park is a private investment by Doña Trinidad Development Corporation, owned by the family of Mr Efraim Genuino (former PAGCOR Chairman during President GMA’s term).

In an ordinary perspective, there is nothing to worry about, as it might bring additional income for Marungko by means of bigger taxes and maybe additional employment, should the investor hire workers/employees from the barangay. However, the residents, especially those who reside immediately beside the proposed site, cited number of reasons to oppose this development.

The slope of land from the proposed site is going downward to the residential areas and also to agricultural lands. The periphery of the property (which is now on-going fencing construction) is almost touching the houses of the residents. The residents’ greatest fear is the health effect that might be brought about by the project. Currently, more than two hundred (200) residents, including children, reside immediately beside the site. Is this fear with basis?

According to HLURB regulations on site criteria for cemeteries or memorial parks, it shall be located on the periphery of the town center or in areas sparsely inhabited and where little hazard to human life could result. Location shall be allowed in an area where the dominant land use within one hundred meters (100mtrs) from the periphery of the proposed memorial park is neither residential, commercial, industrial or institutional.

If this project pushes through, there is a clear violation of the HLURB regulation. Furthermore, there is a 25-50 meters buffer zones for residential and water source supply required by law under the DOH.

Should this project continue, there is also a growing fear of converting the nearby agricultural lands into an expansion area of this memorial park. Farmers will be displaced and palay and vegetable production, which are most vital sources of income, will be diminished and may eventually gone. Marungko by then, will be surrounded by burial grounds, not a very attractive sight by all standards.

Is this memorial park the only way to achieve progress and development? Does a few additional thousands added to barangay income enough to sacrifice the health concerns of the residents? Are we willing to lose more in order to gain a few?

The residents are currently launching awareness campaign to oppose this project and mention other alternatives that may resolve the issue. They are appealing to the good heart of the investor to propose other developments like swimming resort, commercial complex, recreational complex and other projects that could help generate income to the barangay but would not have untoward effects on the residents. The residents are also counting on the fair and good judgment of the local barangay and town officials to take into consideration the welfare of their constituents and not to release permit for this project.

So, for most Marungkenyos, definitely, the proposed Memorial Park is a Big NAY!!!


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