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Friday, August 29, 2008

Inquirer: Skeletons of 12 people dug up at Iba town plaza

Skeletons of 12 people dug up at Iba town plaza

By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk
First Posted 22:46:00 08/28/2008

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—The skeletal remains of 12 people were dug up at the town plaza of Iba, Zambales, on Thursday as construction laborers started the groundwork for a covered court, Governor Amor Deloso said in a telephone interview.

The skeletons were intact when workers moved the soil out of a five-meter pit in what may have been a mass grave, he said.

The pit, spanning two meters on each of the four sides, is located in the middle of the Iba town plaza fronting the Zambales provincial capitol.

Deloso said the diggings, which started on Wednesday, were part of a plan to build a covered court at the plaza.

“These people might have been buried here more than 60 years ago because when I was in Grade 4, the town plaza was already covered with concrete,” said Deloso, 69.

He said the Deloso house was 200 meters from the town plaza.

“The strange thing is that I don't recall anybody, not even the elders in the village, talk about a mass grave or mass burial. There's a mystery here,” he said.

Deloso has asked forensic experts from the Philippine National Police to study the skeletons and establish their gender, nationalities or identities.

According to my brothers, the plaza is located directly behind the Iba church, and is possible that the remains may be part of an old and small cemetery.