By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Mike Defensor cannot help but smell politics in the Quezon City Hall’s alleged move to stop the Lung Center of the Philippines from turning over the remains of 12 COVID-19 patients to a funeral parlor that made an offer to cremate them.
The chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts said politics should have no room in the government’s fight against the coronavirus disease. “Hospitals and local government units like Quezon City should follow the Department of Health (DOH) protocols in the cremation of dead Covid-19 patients. The ideal is to have them cremated in 24 hours to contain the virus,” he said in a statement after a Quezon City hall social service official purportedly halted the transfer of the cadavers to the funeral home identified with Quezon City 1st district Rep. Onyx Crisologo.
Defensor said it was Carol Parohinog who stopped the transfer, because the funeral parlor is not among those accredited by city hall. “Cremation is prescribed to prevent the spread of the virus. Why should a city hall officer stop it? They are playing with the health of our people. They are exposing them to danger,” he said.
He explained that Lung Center sought assistance in the cremation of the remains of the COVID patients as it could only accommodate four bodies. The Quezon City government also informed the hospital that the accredited crematoriums were in full capacity.
Defensor said politics may be behind the city hall’s intervention “because Rep. Crisologo is not considered an ally of city hall.” Crisologo’s father, former Quezon City Rep. Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo ran for mayor against the incumbent in the last elections, he noted.
“We should set aside politics here. It is the health of our people that is at stake.This virus knows no political color,” Defensor pointed out. He called on DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III to ensure that all remains of the COVID patients will be immediately cremated.
“Let us all stick to protocols or our fight against Covid-19 will fail,” he said.