Senator Idol Raffy Tulfo proposed a measure seeking to grant free funeral services for extremely poor Filipino families nationwide.
Tulfo filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1695 institutionalizing a provision of burial assistance that offers free funeral services to ensure that families of the deceased will not carry the heavy financial burden of their loved one’s death.
“In the Philippines, funeral and burial services can range from 10,000 to hundreds of thousands of pesos. As such, many poor families are not only wracked with grief but also deep financial stress that may even lead them to borrow funds from lenders with high-interest rates,” the bill’s explanatory note read.
Funerals are integral rites that allow families to grieve and mourn the loss of their departed loved ones, but Tulfo said that death, for many poor families, can also equate to a crippling amount of debt and evidently a heavy burden for those left behind.
While there are programs that help indigent families, specifically the DSWD’s Burial Assistance Program which provides up to 10,000 pesos worth of benefits, the present burial assistance program is not yet institutionalized.
Under SB No. 1695, the benefit shall include the preparation of funeral documents, embalming, viewing, burial, or cremation. Accredited mortuaries, for their part, shall provide a casket or urn.
Notably, mortuaries granting free services to extremely poor beneficiaries may seek reimbursement for the cost of the services from any regional office of the DSWD upon the approval of the Regional Director
Those who will benefit from the proposed measure are families whose combined gross income does not exceed Php 15,000 per month, do not own real property, or a vehicle.