By Genalyn Kabilingp
The government has reminded concerned authorities to ensure the cremation of coronavirus fatalities within 12 hours after death even if the funeral payment and related documents have not been completed.
The latest decision was reached by Cabinet members during a meeting via video conference last Saturday, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nogales.
“Ang naging kumbaga resolution namin o decision ng grupo na mga cabinet secretaries is number on 1, dapat yung 12 hours na cremation dapat ma-fulfill yan. Dapat hindi ma-violate ang 12 hours (The resolution or decision of the Cabinet secretaries is number one the cremation within 12 hours must be followed. The 12-hour rule must not be violated),” he said during a virtual press conference Sunday.
“We must stick to 12-hour cremation. Everything else papeles, bayad, lahat yan can be solved, those are problems that can be solved and mahanapan natin ng solusyon (Everything else — papers, payment and others can be solved. Those are problems that can be solved and we can find a solution later on),” he added.
Nograles acknowledged that cremation of some coronavirus fatalities have been delayed due to the non-payment of fees. Documents such as death certificates have also not been processed on time, he added.
“Ang desisyon ng Cabinet is do not wait for payment. Kung kailangan i-cremate, i-cremate na yan at huwag na hintayin kung sino magbabayad (The decision of the Cabinet is do not wait for payment. If the remains need to be cremated, they must be cremated. They should no longer wait who will pay for it),” he said.
“Ang assurance natin ay mahanapan natin ng solusyon yan pagdating sa bayad sa payment (Our assurance is we will find a solution when it comes to payment),” he added.
Nograles made the statement after reports that some bodies of patients under investigation for the coronavirus were piling up at a morgue of a local hospital. Some cadavers reportedly remained unclaimed in the morgue.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier called on the local government units to designate funeral service facilities to handle the remains and provide possible financial assistance to cover the logistics, fuel, salary and other expenses. General infection precautions must be observed in handling the remains of COVID-19 cases to avoid further spread of the disease, the task force added.
The Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) has also been directed to allocate P25,000 as funeral support fund for indigent confirmed COVID-19 cases and persons under investigation regardless whether they are undergoing home quarantine or admitted at a public or private facility.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has already issued the guidelines for LGUs on the management of the remains of confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases.#