Saturday, August 17, 2019

Fuel hike inflicts pain on ‘death’ biz

EVEN the death care or funeral industry is feeling the brunt of high inflation and the rising costs of fuel.

Renato Dychangco, president of the Philippine Mortuary Association, named three major challenges faced by the industry: the increase in prices of petroleum products, the high inflation rate that is affecting the purchasing power of the public, and the calls for a wage increase.

These three, he said, have significantly affected the industry’s daily operating expenses, prompting players to pass on the cost to consumers.

“The uneral industry also needs to survive as other companies...With these (factors), there has been a little bit of increase in the prices of funeral services,” said Dychangco, owner of the chain of Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes.

“But we will make sure that it is reasonable,” he said.

The spike in oil prices is affecting the hearse and logistics fleet, cremation machine and indirectly, the electricity consumption, said Dychangco.

The Philippines imports more than 90 percent of its fuel requirements, thus, it is exposed to price volatility in the world market.

The Department of Trade and Industry pointed out that the main cause of inflation was the insufficient rice supply in the market, higher prices of oil in the global market, the weakening of pesos versus the US dollar due to the increase in US interest rates and balance of payment deficits.

The implementation of the Train law (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion), however, has only had a minimal contribution. But the rising costs of goods and services have resulted in calls to hike wages, amid the high take-home pay.

Dychangco, however, declined to disclose how big the increase in the prices of funeral services has been, as prices will differ based on the type of service the family wants.

But, he said, a decent traditional wake of three to five days and burial services may cost at least P50,000.

If a family opts for cremation, it may cost them some P25,000 to P30,000. This, however, is exclusive of the viewing and burial. KOC


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