A congressman has filed a bill seeking to reduce the cost of burial transfer.
Rep. Wes Gatchalian of the First District of Valenzuela City said the cost of burial is very expensive, imposing additional burden on the bereaved family.
In a move to ease the burden of family which is still grieving, Gatchalian filed House Bill No. 7420, seeking to regulate the fees and permits charged by local government units on the domestic transfer of human remains.
“Dying is very expensive in the Philippines. Often coming at the back end of heavy medical expenses, families have to think of funeral and burial expenses. I am therefore also hoping that this measure helps them a bit in this aspect,” he said.
Gatchalian said the proposed measure aims to reduce the cost of transferring remains from one locality to another for burial purposes.
He said transferring the remains of the deceased requires paying a fee to every local government unit where the vehicle passes through until the final destination.
“Under the current system, if a person dies in Manila but is to be laid to his final resting place in the province, and as the body is being transported through each local government unit, often the case is that in every new local territory that it enters, the families are made to pay different fees and charges and made to secure different permits,” Gatchalian said.
“This inevitably causes undue delay and is an added financial burden on them,” said Gatchalian.
The implementing rules and regulation of Presidential Decree No. 856, otherwise known as the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, in relation to RA 7160 (Local Government Code), authorizes an LGU to impose and require the payment of “sanitation fees” on human remains that will be transferred within their local territories.
Gatchalian said if passed into law, HB 7420 would require the families to secure a single permit from the LGU where the deceased died, and this would be sufficient for the transfer of the body in any part of the Philippines.
“I understand the rationale behind the sanitation fees imposed by these LGUs. I believe, however, that a standardized inspection is sufficient for the purpose of ensuring that the body is not bearing any contagious disease," Gatchalian said.
"If approved by one LGU under the supervision of the experts in the Department of Health, it should be more than sufficient for the safe transfer of the body all over the country,” said Gatchalian.