Solon wants free cremation for COVID fatalities

Published June 8, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

La Union 2nd district Rep. Sandra Eriguel wants to make cremation services free to those who succumbed to COVID-19, regardless of their socio-economic status.

La Union 2nd district Rep. Sandra Eriguel (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
La Union 2nd district Rep. Sandra Eriguel
(Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The chairperson of the House Committee on Social Services expressed her panel’s commitment to pass a measure that will not only provide the establishment of crematories in every legislative district, but also make the cremation services free to those who died of coronavirus disease.

“In the midst of the public health emergency and in the face of unprecedented number of deaths brought about by COVID-19, it must be the opportune time to enact a law establishing crematories in every legislative district of the country,” Eriguel told the Manila Bulletin in an e-mailed message.

She was referring to House Bill No. 1518, authored by AKO Bicol partylist Reps. Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Elizaldy S. Co, which is set to be tackled by her panel during the break.

The bill is set for initial deliberation by the Committee. We hope to pass it soon,” Eriguel said.

Under HB 1518, the proposed “Accessible Crematories Act,” “secured, clean, and adequately-equipped” crematories shall be established in each legislative district.

The crematories shall be managed, operated, and maintained by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and other concerned agencies.

The bill provides that each crematory shall have reusable metal coffins, which shall be made available to the indigent surviving relatives of the deceased who may opt for a funeral wake prior to cremation.

“Cremation prevents the spread of contaminants or viruses from the coffin and the dead body because cremated remains or “cremains” are not considered as health risks. It is the aim of the measure to make cremation services accessible to all people especially to those who are living in remote municipalities, and at an affordable cost,” Eriguel said.

She said she will introduce an amendment to HB 1518 to “make cremation services free to those who died of COVID-19, regardless of their socio-economic status in life.”

In their bill’s explanatory note, Garbin and Co said their bill seeks the uniform distribution of crematories nationwide so that cremation services will be more accessible even for those who are living in remote municipalities.

“With subsidized cremation costs, the government can ensure the affordable and accessible burial services for our people. Suffice it to state, this is a social justice measure wherein the poor and marginalized will also be given equal access to social services even until their deaths,” they said.

 
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