Gov’t urged to shoulder burial, cremation of COVID-19 victims

A HOUSE leader on Friday urged the national government to shoulder the cost of burial/cremation of patients who die of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19).

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez made the appeal after watching on television last night “a pitiful sight of widows of Covid-19 walking long distances from the city hall to the civil registry to the crematorium/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,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said the national government, through the Department of Health, “should pay for all the burial expenses of all Covid-19 patients on a reimbursement scheme where the local government units (LGUs) will first respond to the burial needs from the hospital to the funeral parlor/crematorium to the burial site.”

“All the expenses of the LGU should reimbursed by the DOH,” he added.

He suggested that LGUs should create “fully protected teams to take care of cremation and other burial arrangements.”

“We should discourage relatives from directly participating in these arrangements for their own protection and safety, as they would be exposed to the virus,” Rodriguez said.

He said the Muslim tradition of burying their dead within 24 hours should be followed.

In a related development, presidential son and Davao City Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte donated two million face masks and one thousand thermal guns to Davao provinces and barangays to help address the scarcity in medical items used by health care workers and other frontliners.

Duterte said each of 182 barangays in Davao City will receive 2,000 face masks and two thermal guns.

More so, each of the provinces in the Davao Region (Davao Occidental, Davao del Sur, Davao Del Norte, Davao de Oro, and Davao Oriental) will receive 150,000 face masks and 90 thermal guns, according to Duterte.

“It is important the we are equipped to overcome this crisis. We are extending our assistance beyond Davao City. We recognize that to effectively contain the spread of COVID-19, we have to help our neighbor provinces in this fight. We are intensifying our efforts, closely coordinating with stakeholders on how we could further reach more beneficiaries in different regions,” said Duterte.

In addition, the presidential son also provided the set-up for three epidemic prevention stations.

He said these stations are 360 degrees sanitizing cubicles with temperature scanner and will automatically detect persons with fever.

“These stations will be posted in public terminals and the airport. We are already preparing our city to be ready upon the lifting of the community quarantine. We know that once it has been lifted, we still cannot go back to our ‘normal’ lives. The threat is still there so we have to be organized to ease the worry of our constituents,” said Duterte.

For his part, ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, the chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said their proposed “MOBILE TULONG” will be rolling soon in the streets of Benguet as part of his continuing efforts to help mitigate the impacts of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to the people.

“Sisimulan na natin ito sa Benguet upang mas mapadali at mas maramdaman ng tao ang tulong na inilalapit natin. Sa mga nakalipas na linggo, tuloy tuloy ang ating pagtulong pero hindi pa din nawawala yung mga tumatawag o nagpapadala ng message na may ibang pangangailangan bukod sa bigas at delata gaya ng mga gamot o vitamins.

Clearly, kailangan natin ng creative approach sa pagtulong para mas maging effective ito,” said Yap, the caretaker of Benguet province.

Yap, who donated through the provincial government P1 million for COVID-19 relief, P2.5 million worth of PPEs to Benguet General Hospital and more than 500 sacks of rice in Benguet for the past couple of weeks, vowed to keep the aid coming.

Apart from Benguet, Yap said he regularly donates relief packs and other essential goods in different areas in country during this COVID-19 pandemic at no cost to the government.

“Iba pa itong MOBILE TULONG natin ‘dun sa mga pinapadaan natin sa mga local government na essential goods. This MOBILE TULONG is a different approach to cater the needs of the people. Simply put, this is similar to Mobile Palengke but it is FREE. Hindi lang bigas at delata ang maibibigay natin, kung hindi pati na rin vitamins, gamot, gatas, o kung ano pang sa tingin natin ay kailangan ng komunidad na pupuntahan natin. This will lessen their need to go out lalo sa panahon ngayon,” Yap stressed.

“This is just the beginning of the MOBILE TULONG, eventually it will evolve to other kind of services and to other places. Pagtapos ng COVID-19 crisis, we will move to other things. Ilalapit natin yung mga social services like medical at educational assistance o iba pang pangangailangan. MOBILE TULONG is not just a literal vehicle, it is a holistic approach in ensuring that we deliver a more responsive and efficient public service,” he added.

Yap also welcomed the assistance and support in whatever form in order from other partners to boost the capability of this MOBILE TULONG.

“Walang monopolya sa pagtulong, sa ngayon layunin natin na makapagbigay ng tulong mula sa sarili nating kakayahan at sana maka-inspire din tayo ng iba pang gustong tumulong. Lahat pwede sumakay sa MOBILE TULONG natin basta para sa tao. Yan ang totoong diwa ng Bayanihan; magtulungan tayo para mas maraming matulungang mga kababayan,” Yap remarked.