Two funeral parlors in Tondo are facing immediate closure for operating without business permits and violating sanitation laws, after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada ordered a citywide clampdown.
Estrada said Punerarya San Rafael and Corazon Memorial Services, located in Moriones and Juan Luna streets, respectively, were recommended for permanent closure by the Manila Health Department’s Division of Sanitation.
Citing a report submitted by MHD chief Dr. Benjamin Yson, Estrada said the two funeral establishments were found to have committed serious violations, foremost of which is operating without or expired Business Permit and Sanitary Permit.
“If there’s evidence, close it down,” Estrada said in an interview.
The mayor ordered the crackdown against improperly managed funeral parlors and embalming establishments to safeguard public health.
“We are only trying to avert some sort of a major health risk by ordering the closure of these ill-maintained funeral homes. I want immediate action,” he stressed.
In separate endorsements sent to Bureau of Permits Director Fortune Mayuga on October 4, Yson said MHD is “compelled to recommend that a Closure Order be issued to and imposed on” Punerarya San Rafael and Corazon Memorial Services.
Punerarya San Rafael is owned by Lourdes Cabuelo, while Corazon Memorial Services is owned by Roberto dela Rosa.
Citing the September 25 and 26 inspections conducted by a team of sanitation inspectors led by Division of Sanitation chief Boyet San Gabriel, Yson said Punerarya San Rafael has been operating since 2015 with expired Business Permit and Sanitary Permit. Its personnel also have no Health Certificates.
The establishment also has serious discrepancies in its old business registration as a Category 2 funeral home.
Under Presidential Decree 856 or the Code on Sanitation of the Philippines, Category 2 funeral establishments can have chapels and funeral services but not embalming, which Punerarya San Rafael illegally offers.
While San Rafael has not renewed its permits since 2015, Corazon Memorial Services is worst: it has been operating without any Business or Sanitary permits at all. All its employees also have no Health Certificates.
Moreover, it operates as a Category 3 funeral establishment but failed to present any Memorandum of Agreement with a Category I funeral parlor that is supposed to provide mortuary care and handling of corpses it sent for embalming.
“These are serious violations, that’s why we gave them seven days to coordinate with us and rectify their violations,” said San Gabriel in a separate interview, referring to the erring establishments.
After being signed by Yson, the MHD-Division of Sanitation’s recommendations are then forwarded to the Bureau of Permits, which will draft, approve, and subsequently serve the Closure Order.
“We will serve the Closure Orders to the owners. If they did not comply and continue operating, that is the time we will padlock their establishments,” Mayuga explained.
Once shut down, neither of the two funeral parlors could reopen until they have complied with the requirements such as securing permits from the City Hall, she added.
The citywide inspection of funeral parlors in the city was prompted by the discovery of a stockpile of rotting corpses at Archangel Funeral Homes in Sampaloc recently.
During an inspection, sanitation inspectors found at least 23 unclaimed bodies stacked like cordwood at the floor, many of whom were already in advance state of decomposition, and barely covered.
Archangel has started doing renovation works to comply with the requirements set by the MHD-Division of Sanitation before being allowed to reopen again.