Solons urge House panels to act on bills that will help ease grief of loved ones left behind

Published October 31, 2020, 10:38 PM

by Ben Rosario

As the nation commemorates the dead on All Saints Day,  several solons want congressional committees to also remember to act on their pending legislative proposals honoring those who have left this world and make life less difficult for those they left behind.

Bills imposing price ceiling on the cost of caskets, penalizing the unauthorized disposition of corpses and taking ”hostage” the remains of a dead person to force payment of hospitalization expenses remain pending in various House of Representatives committees.

Also undergoing committee deliberations with less than two years before the current Congress adjourns are legislative proposals proposing the interment of medical frontliners who died of COVID 19 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in acknowledgement of their heroism in fighting the dreaded disease.

Over a year ago, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte filed House Resolution No. 431 urging the House Committee on Social Services to inquire into complaints from mourning relatives of deceased persons against the alleged “exorbitant fees charged for funeral and burial services.”

On the other hand, veteran Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez 

wants fatalities from the 2011 onslaught of typhoon Sendong to be buried in the five memorial eco-parks and shrines in  the city.

Currently pending before the House Committee on Natural Resources, House Bill 2795 or the the proposed “CDO Sendong Memorials” will serve as a “constant reminder that we all have to protect our environment to prevent calamities.”

Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla filed House Bill 7184 proposing a the establishment of a Muslim Filipino Cemetery in her province.  The Committee on Muslim Affairs was assigned to act on the measure.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has won sincere praises from several Muslim lawmakers for approving an ordinance that will allocate 2,400 square meters in the Manila South Cemetery for the development of a Muslim Cemetery.

Lanao del Sur Rep. Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong expressed the gratitude of Filipino Muslims by filing House Resolution No. 766 which is currently pending before the Muslim affairs which he chairs.

Meanwhile, Rep. Yesser Balindong of Lanao del Norte called on the House Committee on Health to approve HB 3210 requiring hospitals, medical clinics and other facilities to release a cadaver to relatives within 24 hours in recognition of religious practices and traditions. 

Pending with the Committee on Health is HB 3383 prescribing penalties for the unauthorized disposition of corpses by individuals, crematoriums and funeral parlors.

QCRep. Precious Hipolito Castelo filed the bill to end the practice of certain funeral parlors and crematoriums of cremating a deceased person without informing the next of kin.

“Unauthorized disposition of human corpses should be severely dealt with and to the fullest extent of the law,” said Castelo

“Detention” of cadavers for failure of relatives to pay medical bills and funeral expenses are criminal acts that require stiffer penalties under separate bills filed by Reps. Joy Myra Tambunting (NUP, Paranaque City); Precious Hipolito (NUP, QuezonCity) and Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez (PDP-Laban, Laguna).

All three bills are pending before the health panel chaired by Quezon Rep. Helen Tan.

HB 7846 filed by Cebu Rep. Duke Frasco proposes to regulate the sale of caskets  “to protect the human dignity of Filipinos by ensuring the availability of decent caskets.”

Referred to the Committee on Trade and Industry after its filing early October, HB 7846 will limit the price of a casket to P12,000 to make it affordable to relatives of a deceased indigent person.

To honor medical frontliners who died treating and providing hospital care for COVID 19 patients,  Reps. Alfredo Garbin (Ako Bicol) ; Ria Christina Farinas (NP, Ilocos Norte) and Rudys Caesar Farinas I (Probinsyano Ako partylist) filed HR 855 and HR 6772, respectively. 

HR 855 seeks to give medical frontliners, who died in the line of duty due to COVID, a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“In order to honor the lives of every Filipino medical frontliner who died in line of duty against COVID 19, they deserve to be buried with state honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani due to their supreme sacrifice for love of country, loyalty to the people and devotion to their profession,” explained Garbin.

HB 6772 proposes to display the names of ”fallen modern-day heroes” during the COVID-19 pandemic at the heroes cemetery.

Under the bill, a Memorial Wall will be put up at the Libingan ng mga Bayani where the names of all frontlilners who died of COVID-19 will be inscribed.