Government to speed up burial of Yolanda victims

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

CONCERNED government agencies are working closely with the Tacloban City government to speed up the burial of some 1,400 fatalities of super Typhoon Yolanda, a Palace official said Thursday.

In the regular press briefing, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Departments of Health (DOH) and Public Works and Highways (DPWH) sent added equipment while the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) redeployed its forensic team on the ground.

Quoting a report from Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo Lacson, he said the DOH has sent 1,500 body bags and protective kits for personnel handling the remains while the DPWH sent additional backhoes and payloaders.

"Ginagawa na po ito sa pamamagitan ng puspusang pagtutulungan ng DOH, NBI, DPWH at kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan sa Tacloban City government," he said.

Coloma also said the agencies are considering other suggestions to speed up the burial, including modifying the procedure used by the NBI to identify the remains.

He said some sectors had pointed out that the NBI adheres to the procedures used by the International Police Organization (Interpol), which are rather thorough but would take more time.

"Sa obserbasyon naman po ng ibang mga ahensiya, at ito ay na-convey na rin sa NBI na baka naman pwedeng ma-modify ang procedure on the fact that iyong Interpol procedures are procedures being used to gather evidence in criminal cases, kaya siyempre mas detalyado ito. Ang mga victims of the calamity, hindi naman similarly situated as victims of crimes, kaya I think iyon ang isang punto na tinalakay nila," Coloma said.

He said discussions are ongoing to have the NBI comply with Interpol procedures but at a faster pace.

Over 6,000 people perished from Yolanda, which hit the country on November 8, while 1,785 others were reported missing. (SDR/Sunnex)

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