Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Association backs bills to improve standards of death care

THE Philippine Mortuary Association Inc. is supporting bills that will lift the standards of the country’s death care industry.

Kate Dychangco-Anzani, whose family owns and operates the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes Inc., said imposing strict regulations in the mortuary industry would elevate the standards, affordability and quality of services given to the deceased and bereaved family members.

Anzani said that the mortuary association, headed by her father Renato Dychangco, has been advocating for policies that will properly define the mortuary industry and its function in the community.

Likewise, the organization composed of 420 members nationwide advocates policies that would enable healthy growth in the death care sector and provide access to decent death benefits to Filipinos from all walks of life.

Anzani is also an officer of the association representing the younger group. Her family owns 23 outlets of Cosmopolitan memorial chapels around the country, nine of which are located in Cebu.

Last month, a congressional resolution was filed seeking a review of the rules and regulations governing the country’s funeral industry.

The Philippine News Agency reported that Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago cited in House Resolution No. 488 the recent incident involving Henry Memorial Services in Quezon City, which continued to accept unidentified bodies even upon receiving a closure order for violations of the sanitary and health code.

Elago lobbied for a review of the current Health Department’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) on the the disposal of dead persons that prescribes proper procedures and requirements for burial, and requirements for crematorial and funeral establishments, as well as on the IRR to govern the processing of applications for locational clearance of funeral establishments’ prescribed by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

The legislator also cited several other examples of “abusive practices” in the funeral industry that need to be investigated, including reports of funeral operators that claim dead bodies from local hospitals and embalm them without consent from the families of the deceased, then compelling the family to “buy back” the bodies of their loved ones.

In 2013, a separate house bill was filed by Rep. Alfred Vargas III. House Bill 2983 seeks to prohibit the occurrence of holding hostage the cadaver of the departed in funeral parlors and morgues.

The bill aims to stop “the depraved and inhuman practice” of detaining the cadaver as a mechanism to compel families to settle whatever financial obligations before families can fully take custody of the bodies.

Because death nowadays can also be costly, Cosmopolitan has developed its own insurance for memorial services at only P470 a year, renewable every year, through a partnership with Cebu CFI Community Cooperative and for private companies through their human resource department. The payment is done through salary deduction.

“This is our way to help government provide easy, accessible and affordable death care services to Filipinos,” said Anzani. “We needed to bridge that gap.”

Cosmopolitan’s affordable death care package is priced at P30,000 inclusive of basic services like standard basic wooden casket, preservation and sanitation, retrieval of the body from place of death to the funeral parlor, and viewing or wake services for three days in a standard room.
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