Stop politicking during crisis -- solon

A House leader asked local officials and employees to separate politics from public service in this time of national crisis.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts and Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor lamented that politics is rearing its ugly head in the fight against the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Defensor specifically cited an incident where Quezon City hall social service official, whom he identified as Carol Parohinog, stopped Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) from turning over the remains of 12 patients who died of COVID-19 to a funeral parlor that had offered to cremate them.

According to Defensor, the LCP had asked for help in the cremation of the cadavers after the hospital was told that crematoriums accredited by the Quezon City government were already full.

He said the Lung Center morgue could only accommodate four bodies and the hospital had to send the patients’ remains to crematoriums to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“Hospitals and local government units like Quezon City should follow the Department of Health (DOH) protocols in the cremation of dead COVID-19 patients. The ideal is to have them cremated in 24 hours to contain the virus,” he said.

A funeral parlor identified with Rep. Onyx Crisologo of Quezon City’s first district offered to take the cadavers from Lung Center but Parohinog stopped the transfer supposedly because the funeral home is not among those accredited by city hall.

“Cremation is prescribed to prevent the spread of the virus. Why should a city hall officer stop it? They are playing with the health of our people. They are exposing them to danger,” Defensor stressed.

He said he smelled politics in city hall’s intervention “because Rep. Crisologo is not considered an ally of city hall.”

Crisologo’s father, former Congressman Bingbong Crisologo, ran for mayor against the incumbent in the last elections.

“We should set aside politics here. It is the health of our people that is at stake. This virus knows no political color,” Defensor stressed.

Defensor urged Health Secretary Francisco Duque III to look into the cadavers at Lung Center and other hospitals and order their immediate cremation.