By Warren Elijah E. Valdez
DAVAO CITY – The cremation of the remains of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) victims who expired at the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) will be shouldered by the city government, according to City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Duterte said the city would be footing the bill to prevent the piling up of bodies, which could still be infected by the coronavirus at the hospital.
“We have already created a system. We already reached out to the SPMC on what are the things and papers needed to be done,” she said.
The city mayor said there were currently 24 bodies still stored at SPMC, 14 of which were COVID-19 patients.
She said some of them were also waiting for the test results, but they were highly suspected or probably infected of the disease, noting that it was a possibility that they will also be cremated even without the test results.
Most of these remains, Duterte said, have been at the SPMC for some time because of the high costs of cremation.
“Because we only have three facilities (here) who handles cremation, and there are times that the facilities refuse,” she added.
“What we did is we (city government) guaranteed the cremation of all (COVID-19 bodes) so that there will be no piling up,” Duterte said.
The city mayor said this was because the Department of Health (DOH) has mandated to cremate the COVID-19 victims remains within 12 hours “whether or not there is a result of positive or negative.”