Binay to gov’t: shoulder cremation costs

Published April 13, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Nancy Binay urged the government on Monday to shoulder the cost of cremation to relieve hospitals of unclaimed cadavers of patients who died from COVID-19.

Binay noted that one of the reasons why the number of cadavers has piled up at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) and other hospitals was because families of the COVID-19 victims cannot afford the high cost of cremation.


Binay said she believes the government can afford to shoulder the cremation expenses especially of the poor families COVID-19 fatalities.

“Sa tingin ko, kayang sagutin ng gobyerno ang gastos sa cremation ng mga pamilyang mahihirap (I think the government can shoulder the cremation for the poor families), or the government can extend assistance to families who have immensely suffered financially,” Binay said.

Binay said the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) should enter into a memorandum of agreement with the National Federation of Mortuary Stakeholders to ensure the safe handling and processing of cadavers that are in hospitals, houses or quarantine centers.

Binay lamented that the DILG, DOH, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and other local government units in Metro Manila studied the management and disposal of cadavers of COVID-19 positive patients only a month after the start of the government’s enhanced community quarantine measures covering the entire Luzon.

“Nakakalungkot na walang magawa ang mga pamilyang namatayan dahil maliban sa kailangan nilang bayaran pa ang cremation, nawalan pa sila ng trabaho, at ang mas mabigat ay nawalan sila ng mahal sa buhay, (It’s sad to note these families who lost their loved ones can’t do anything because aside from cremation expenses, they have to cope with losing their jobs, and the fact they lost someone dear to them),” the senator said.

She also pointed out that under the revised guidelines of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) assistance to individuals in crisis situation program, the agency is mandated to shoulder the cost of funeral expenses.

This is on top of the P10,000 cash assistance the DSWD is mandated to give to the family left behind by the COVID-19 victim without the need to submit a case study report.

“Meron binibigay na P10,000 ang DSWD para sa standard burial assistance. Sa sitwasyon ng mga naulilang pamilya dahil sa COVID-19, maaaring lakihan ng DSWD (DSWD is giving P10,000 as standard burial assistance. For families who lost a loved one to COVID, the DSWD may increase the cash assistance),” she pointed out.

Binay also urged LGUs to strictly monitor cremation and funeral services to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines of the DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) regarding cremation.

She said the IATF and the DOH should know the standard cost of cremation services, as she appealed to crematorium and funeral service providers not to take advantage of the pandemic.