By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has urged the national government to shoulder the funeral cost of patients died of the coronavirus disease.
Rodriguez made the appeal after watching a news item of “a pitiful sight of widows of COVID-19 walking long distances from the city hall to the civil registry to the crematorium and burial site to attend to their dead.”
“We should spare them such pain and agony. That is adding insult to injury, since they have already lost their loved ones to this deadly virus,” he said.
He said the national government, through the Department of Health, must pay for all the burial expenses of all COVID-19 patients on a reimbursement scheme.
Under Rodriguez’s proposal, the local government units (LGUs) will first respond to the burial needs from the hospital to the funeral parlor/crematorium to the burial site” and will be refunded later by the national government.
He added LGUs should create “fully protected teams to take care of cremation and other burial arrangements” and discourage relatives deceased patients from directly participating in these arrangements for their own protection and safety, “as they would be exposed to the virus.”
Rodriguez also stressed that the Muslim tradition of burying their dead within 24 hours should be followed.
Last Monday, the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) directed all LGUs to ensure that COVID-infected corpses are cremated or buried within 12 hours “to prevent the spread of the virus, and to bear the cost involved.”
The city government of Makati earlier responded by announcing it would assume the cost of cremation or burial of patients who die due to coronavirus.
Rodriguez said most LGUs “are not like Makati in terms of financial resources, and the national government should help them by reimbursing the full cost of cremation or burial of COVID-19 patients’ remains.”