Bill seeks 50% discount for poor folk’s funeral services

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/31 October) – Two congressmen have filed a bill granting a 50-percent discount for funeral services to poor families nationwide.

In their explanatory note to House Bill 4002, Bayan Muna Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares said: “In the Philippines, dying has become as costly as living itself. This is because most Filipinos already live lives of utter poverty and still die poor and indebted till the end.  Funeral services generally are expensive, a stark and difficult reality confronting the large majority of impoverished Filipinos.”

Casiño and Colmenares cited a 2005 survey done on funeral services by the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning which put the average funeral service package at P25,000.

Memorial lots in public and private cemeteries cost and showed an average of P50,000 for lot package including succeeding lease payments. Decent funeral services include the transport of the corpse, provision of casket, embalming, interment and conduct to the church and/or to the cemetery, the survey added.

The two lawmakers noted that most Filipino families traditionally hold the funeral wake at home.

“The lack of space in many residential areas, however, does not restrict the setting up of funeral wakes even on the sides of the street adjacent to the dead man’s residence,” they said.

They further noted that some funeral wakes would last for more than a week “only because there are not enough funds mainly gathered through abuloy (donations) to cover for the expenses incurred”. (MindaNews)