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PIA Press Release

Davao Oriental's posh cemetery ordered closed

City of Mati, Davao Oriental (8 October) -- Hell-bent on cracking down on business establishments operating in the city without licenses and not paying taxes to the local government, the city government of Mati has ordered the temporary closure on Monday, October 1, of a posh cemetery here in a bid to send a "strong message" to all businessmen here that the local government means business especially when it come to collecting taxes.

Ordered closed effective October 1 this month is the Golden Valley cemetery, a posh memorial park owned and operated by the Oriental Gardens Corporation. Based on official records, Golden Valley is the lone private cemetery in Davao Oriental and is the first business establishment ordered closed since Mati's conversion into a city.

"This will serve as a strong warning to all business establishments operating in the City of Mati that they will really be closed if they operate without licenses and evading paying taxes to the local government," says Conrado Buencamino Jr., the city administrator.

Romeo Roque, head of the city government's business permit and licensing office, said the Oriental Gardens Corporation "have failed to secure the prescribed permit to operate the business within the territorial jurisdiction of Mati and pay the equivalent fees and licenses for the years 2006 and 2007."

City planning and development officer Anecita Uy said the firm have also "failed to secure preliminary approved and locational clearance or PALC and development permit." According to City Engineer Roseller Esperat, the Golden Valley owner have also failed to secure a building permit from his office as provided for by the Building Code of the Philippines and by the Municipal Tax Ordinance No. 02, series of 1993.

"Many more establishments in the City of Mati will suffer the same fate if they continue to operate illegally. The city government is really hell-bent on cracking down on business establishments operating illegally. So it's better for them to shape up now so they could have smooth operation," says City Administrator Conrado Buencamino Jr. But Buencamino Jr. have assured the clients of Oriental Gardens Corporation that they can still visit the tombs of their departed loved ones as "only burial activities will be stopped and not the visitation of tombs."

Four days before the implementation of the closure order, city government officials have called for a press conference to announce their plan to intensify their crackdown on erring businessmen here who have evaded paying taxes to the local government.

Amauri Antonio, a member of the Board of Directors of the Oriental Gardens Corporation, said they are still planning on what to do with the closure order by the city government.

The closure order dated September 26, 2007 and signed by city Mayor Michelle Rabat says: "The business establishment Oriental Gardens Corporation is issued this order, advising them to stop the sell (sic) of memorial lot and services and to cease and desist the operation of their office. The closure shall be temporary in nature until the management of Oriental Gardens Corporation has satisfactorily complied all the requirements stipulated for by law as required of a memorial park and shall be allowed to open through another issuance coming form the Mayor's office. That a portion of the gate shall be opened to allow families to visit the tombs of their beloved departed." (PR/PIA XI) [top]

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