Congressional review of funeral services sought
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon has sought a congressional review on the laws and regulations governing the funeral industry to help curb abusive practices, possibly with new legislation.

Ridon said the inquiry has become necessary as funeral services have become very expensive and “beyond the means” of many Filipinos even as the industry members have been hit for their unscrupulous practices that take advantage of grieving families due to weak government regulation.

“Death has a significant place in the cultural fabric of our nation. However, perhaps due partly to the weak regulation of this industry, funeral and burial services have become generally unaffordable for most Filipinos. Worse, there are many reports of substandard services that rub salt into the wound,” Ridon said.

The reported abusive practices that need to be investigated, according to Ridon, include the claiming of bodies of funeral operators from local hospitals and embalming them without consent of next of kin.

Thereafter, they will compel the family to pay a certain amount to “buy back” the bodies of their loved ones, Ridon said.

“In many cases, families are also forced to extend the wake of their loved ones for more than a week to buy time and get more ‘abuloy’ (donations)’ or contributions from people who pay their respects to the deceased,” he said.

Ridon said the practice of holding illegal gambling activities during wakes has also become the norm to help the family pay for funeral and burial services.

He said the Department of Health (DOH)’s Implementing Rules and Regulations on the Disposal of Dead Persons that prescribe proper procedures and requirements for burial, and requirements for crematorial and funeral establishments.

There is also an existing “Implementing Rules and Regulations to Govern the Processing of Applications for Locational Clearance of Funeral Establishments” prescribed by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

However, the implementation of the regulations has not been reviewed in recent years, even as problems besieging the funeral and burial industry continue to abound, Ridon said.

Ridon stressed the need for new legislation that will “protect the rights of the people to accessible and quality funeral and burial services for their families and loved ones.”

“This legislation should protect them from abusive profiteering tactics by private funeral contractors and must be enacted and enforced in the furtherance of existing rules and regulations governing funeral and burial services,” Ridon said.

 

ACIRC BURIAL DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DISPOSAL OF DEAD PERSONS FUNERAL GOVERN THE PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS HOUSING AND LAND USE REGULATORY BOARD IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS LOCATIONAL CLEARANCE OF FUNERAL ESTABLISHMENTS RIDON TERRY RIDON
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