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Funeral industry review sought after QC unclaimed corpses discovery

A congressional resolution has been filed seeking a review of the rules and regulations governing the country’s funeral industry following the discovery last October 18 of at least 120 unclaimed, decomposing cadavers in a funeral home in La Loma, Quezon City.

At Henry's Funeral Parlor in La Loma, Quezon City, city health workers spray disinfectant on over 100 cadavers that have collected in the funeral parlor over the past few years, and were cleared out as they posed a great health hazard to the community. MB PHOTO/FEDERICO CRUZ

At Henry’s Funeral Parlor in La Loma, Quezon City, city health workers spray disinfectant on over 100 cadavers that have collected in the funeral parlor over the past few years, and were cleared out as they posed a great health hazard to the community. MB PHOTO/FEDERICO CRUZ

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago cited the case of the Henry’s Funeral Parlor in filing House Resolution (HR) No. 488, noting that the funeral parlor’s practices endanger the health of nearby residents.

“In the Philippines, we have the Department of Health’s (DOH) Implementing Rules and Regulations on the Disposal of Dead Persons that prescribes proper procedures and requirements for burial, and requirements for crematorial and funeral establishments,” she noted in her measure.

Elago also noted that despite the existence of the IRR to govern the processing of applications for location clearance of funeral establishments as prescribed by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, “the implementation of these regulations have not been reviewed in recent years, even as problems besieging the funeral and burial industry continue to abound.”

According to news reports, the Quezon City government in September ordered the closure of the morgue for violations of the sanitary and health code, but it continued accepting unidentified bodies even as the stench of rotting corpses spread to nearby houses and caused some residents to fall ill.

Establishment owner Oscar Parales and manager Severino Mancia were nowhere to be found.

The youth solon also said Congress needs to look into several other cases of “abusive practices” in the funeral industry, such as reports of funeral operators that claim dead bodies from local hospitals and embalm them without consent from the families of the deceased, then compelling the family to “buy back” the bodies of their loved ones.