Other burial options mulled as sole crematorium in Panay reaches peak

Published August 5, 2021, 6:23 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – Officials are trying to address concerns in the burial of COVID-19 patients as the only crematorium in Panay Island is over its capacity.

“If possible, those who died from COVID-19 must be buried within 24 hours,” said Dr. Jessie Glen Alonsabe, chief epidemiologist of the Department of Health-Region 6 (Western Visayas).

“They should be buried in compliance with the Sanitation Code,” Alonsabe said in an interview with Manila Bulletin Thursday, Aug. 5.

Local government officials are beginning to look at other options when the Gegato-Abecia Funeral Homes and Crematory here temporarily stopped accepting new cadavers since Aug. 2.

Gov. Florencio Miraflores of Aklan was the first to bring up the concern. Miraflores urged mayors of the 17 towns to prepare burial grounds after Aklan was averaging four to five COVID-19 deaths daily for the past week and no longer be transported to Iloilo City for cremation.

Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor Jr. had a virtual meeting with mayors of the 42 towns and component city of Passi to find alternative ways to deal with the cadavers of those who died from COVID-19.

Mayor Jerry Treñas here announced that the Iloilo City government is looking to procure a 40-foot freezer van where cadavers can be temporarily placed.

The management of Gegato-Abecia Funeral Homes and Crematory clarified that it never stopped operations in Iloilo City, but only stopped accepting new cadavers are there are pending bodies that have yet to be cremated.

The crematorium management assured that a new cremation machine will be delivered soon and has the capacity to cremate more than 60 cadavers per day.

The crematorium management also clarified that most cadavers cremated are not from Iloilo City or Iloilo, but provinces in Panay Island.