Senator Nancy Binay (photo from


Senator Nancy Binay urged the government to shoulder the cost of cremating the remains of victims of COVID-19 amid reports of bodies of victims lay unclaimed in a hospital morgue violating the government’s rule to immediately cremate the remains of COVID-19 fatalities to prevent the further spread of the disease.

Binay said families of COVID-19 fatalities do not have the financial means to cremate the remains of their loved ones forcing them to leave the bodies in hospital morgues, creating more problems for the hospital.

“Sa tingin ko, kayang sagutin ng gobyerno ang gastos sa cremation ng mga pamilyang mahihirap, or the government can extend assistance to families who have immensely suffered financially. Nakakalungkot na walang magawa ang mga pamilyang namatayan dahil maliban sa kailangan nilang bayaran pa ang cremation, nawalan pa sila ng trabaho, at ang mas mabigat ay nawalan sila ng mahal sa buhay,” Binay said.

The Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) imposed a 12-hour rule for the cremation of the remains of COVID-19 deceased patients .

“We must stick to the 12-hour rule when it comes to cremation,” Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson Karlo Nograles said.

However, due to financial constraints, some families leave the corpses of their deceased relatives in the hospital’s morgue until they have the means to retrieve them and have them cremated.

The East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) admitted in a TV interview that its morgue is beyond capacity.

Dr. Dennis Ordona, EAMC spokesperson said the hospital’s morgue can only accommodate five bodies. “The highest number we’ve recorded so far was 20, which have not yet been picked up,” Ordona said in an interview with CNN Philippines.

suggested that the enter into an agreement with the National Federation of Mortuary Stakeholders to ensure the proper handling of remains in hospitals, homes, and quarantine centers based on IATF guidelines.

Binay said the Department of Social Welfare and Development has the budget to shoulder part of the funeral cost and the family can receive up to P10,000 assistance even if they do not submit a case study report.

“Meron binibigay na P10,000 ang DSWD para sa standard burial assistance. Sa sitwasyon ng mga naulilang pamilya dahil sa COVID, maaaring lakihan ng DSWD. Yung pagsagot ng bayarin ay napakalaking bagay na para matulungan natin silang makapag-move on sa gitna ng pandemya,” Binay said.

Binay also lamented that the  Department of Health, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Metro Manila Development Authority are just now discussing the “management and disposal” of the remains of COVID-19 fatalities a month after the lockdown.

She also appealed to crematoriums and funeral parlors to be considerate due to the current pandemic.

“Sa nangyayari sa buong mundo ngayon, it’s never a good time to die. Malungkot at wala kang karamay. Di ka makapagpaalam man lang sa iyong mga mahal sa buhay. Wala kang last rites, or proper burial. Kaya nakakagalit yung meron kang mababalitaang mga punerarya at crematoriums na nananamantala para pagkakitaan ang pamilyang namatayan,” Binay said.  (Rommel F. Lopez)