Free burial services for Baguio residents okayed

BAGUIO CITY November 09 – The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance providing for free burial services for indigent residents of the city.

The ordinance, authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., will be known as the 'Pauper's Burial Ordinance in the City of Baguio," stated that the program shall only be available to indigent residents of the city, provided that, the deceased or his or her living family must be bonafide residents or inhabitants of the city.

Under the proposal, pauper refers to any person or family who has no means at all of even supporting himself or themselves or without means of livelihood; any person or family who is so poor that he or they must be supported at public expense and any person or family who has no property or income sufficient for their support aside from their labor.

The ordinance provided no person can avail of the services of the program except upon the approval of the City Mayor or his duly authorized representative via certification and recommendation from the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development (OCDSWDO) which shall determine the financial status and condition of the prospective beneficiary and his or her family, as well as from the City Health Office (CHO).

The OCDSWDO and CHO shall be responsible for the disposal of the remains of the indigent deceased for medical or scientific means to guarantee the appropriate health and sanitation practices while the local government through the mayor may enter into a contract with a legitimate funeral parlor operating in the city to perform the funeral services.

The General Services Office shall be authorized to call for bids for the disposal of the indigent's remains, which bidding shall be made every year, in accordance with the provisions of existing laws, rules and regulations while the local government shall provide for a limited financial assistance in the amount of P2,000.

Further, the local government, through its authorized representatives, may cause the removal and exhumation of the cadaver or remains of the deceased and transfer the same before the expiration of the 5-year period; provided that a written consent is given by the next of kin or the nearest kin of the deceased.

Should any of the next of kin of the deceased decides to remove the remains of the deceased and transfer the same before the expiration of the 5-year period, the ordinance requires a written request must be sent to the City Mayor and the City Health Officer who shall act accordingly for the removal of the deceased.

The ordinance added any improvement introduced on the burial space or ground shall belong to the local government without any obligation of paying or reimbursement of the cost of the improvements while the book of register or death certificate shall be kept and encoded to record among others the name of the deceased, personal data, cause of death, date and time of death, certification of the City Health Officer or medico-legal as the cause of death, name and address of funeral parlor, certification of embalming, date of burial, name and address of the cemetery, certificate of no land holdings from the City Assessor's office, recommendation and certification from the OCSWADO that the prospective beneficiary and his or her family is indigent as defined and approval of the City Mayor. By Dexter A. See

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