THE Lingap para sa Mahirap Center, since the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Davao City April this year, already shouldered an estimated P5 million for cremation services of almost 200 cadavers, including those suspected of having the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), to ease the burden of the bereaved families.
Lingap officer-in-charge Josephine Mitaran said their office is in charge of arranging the cremation and the direct burial of the Covid-19 patients, both suspected and positive, which has reached a total of 168, as of July 10.
"Kung Covid-19 ang gikamatyan, kami na mismo muduol sa ilaha. Gina-arrange nato kung unsang madawat na assistance nila (We will be personally attending to the families of the patient who died of Covid-19. We will arrange the kind of assistance they will recieve)," Mitaran said.
Lingap is a City Government program that provides assistance, including hospitalization, funeral/burial, and medicines, to Davao City residents.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in April made a directive that the City will shoulder the financial assistance of the affected Covid-19 patient families.
The mayor said the money for the cremation services was part of the National Government's Bayanihan grant to the city amounting to P462 million.
"What we did is to guarantee the cremation in order no one would-be put-on hold," Duterte-Carpio said in a previous radio interview.
Davao City follows the initiative of a few other cities, like Pasig and Makati.
She said the delay in the cremation is often caused by financial issues, resulting in the piling up of corpses at the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
The Department of Health has advised that within 12 hours cremation must be done, whether or not there is a test result, either positive or negative.
Mitaran said that despite the huge amount, she guaranteed that their office still has enough funds.
The official said they have an annual budget of P100 million, which is now directly sourced from the Office of the President.
Meanwhile, she said they still continue to cater to non-Covid-19 clients who wish to seek financial assistance from the local government.
From January to June this year, Lingap catered a total of 52,942 patients -- 7,091 from Davao City, while the remaining 45,851 were from other parts of Mindanao.
Mitaran said they had imposed a limited physical transaction in observance
with the health protocols against Covid-19.
With this, she said they changed their application process, without face-to-face transaction. Instead, those needing assistance will only submit a form with an assessment from the City Government's social workers.
She also said that only a few senior citizens, one of their notable clients who also belong to the vulnerable sectors, were able to avail themselves of their services during the community quarantine.