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Isko allots funds for free cremation

MANILA Mayor Isko Moreno has ordered the allotment of P2 million for the purchase of fuel oil for the free cremation of COVID-19 victims at the Manila North Cemetery (MNC).

Saying he is not totally happy with his announcement because it involves death, Moreno, just the same, said that with the new allocation, cremation will now be totally free in the city specially for the benefit of those who cannot afford it.

The free service, however, is limited only to residents of Manila who pass on due to COVID-related deaths.

Moreno noted that under the rules issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the bodies of patients who died of COVID-19 must be cremated within 12 hours.

However, the mayor said he is also aware that not everybody can afford cremation specially in these difficult times, noting that the said service is very costly, running from a minimum of five digits up to six digits, with some even experiencing overcharging.

“Nagpapanting ang tenga ko na patay na, pinagkakakitaan pa,” Moreno said, as he pleaded with grieving families to report to him immediately should anyone attempt to collect any payment from them, in exchange for cremation at the city government’s crematory at the MNC.

Moreno said he knows how painful it is for a poor family to experience a death in the family and has no money to take care of your deceased loved one when his grandfather passed away when he was a young boy.

“Pakiusap. Pag kayo siningil sa cremation namin tungkol sa COVID cases, i-report ninyo sa akin kasi, dapat libre ‘yan. Nakikisuyo ako, ‘wag nyo payagan sina ‘Eddie’ at ‘Patty’ na magsamantala sa kalugmukan ninyo dahil mapapariwara ang pagnanais ko na yakapin kayo sa oras ng inyong kalungkutan,” the mayor said.

Roselle Castaneda, chief of the Manila North Cemetery, said that under the city regulations, the relative requesting for cremation must be able to prove his or relation to the deceased by presenting documents. They must also bring an urn where the ashes may be placed after the cremation which takes two hours.

Castaneda also said the death certificate of the deceased must also be presented where the cause of death and address are stated, along with photocopies of the IDs both of the deceased and the relative requesting for cremation.

The free cremation will be on a first come, first served basis, she added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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