IT IS an unfortunate fact that the cost of dying in the Philippines is unconscionably high, higher in fact than the cost of living for low-income Filipino families. The burden is felt even more painfully when the head of the household or breadwinner dies, leaving the surviving family in debt.
Having been mayor for three terms and therefore cognizant first hand of the funeral woes of poverty-stricken Filipinos, Cebu 5th District Rep. Vincent “Duke” Frasco filed on Oct. 8 his proposed bill that will regulate the sale of caskets by funeral establishments to ensure the availability of affordable caskets for those in need.
“In general, funeral services are expensive, a stark and difficult reality confronting the large majority of impoverished Filipinos. In particular, the price of most caskets has become unconscionably high, which is beyond the paying capacity of the family of the deceased,” Frasco explained in his explanation to the bill.
As it is, the price of caskets ranges from P5,000 to as high as P300,000. The ones that are priced low are also of limited availability in most funeral parlors.
If approved, the bill will make sure that decent and affordable caskets are available all the time at funeral establishments as an option for poor and indigent families at a price of not more than P12,000.
“The sad reality is that in most funeral parlors, there is no availability of affordable caskets, so the surviving family members are often left with no other option (but to buy the expensive ones),” the congressman added.
With Frasco’s proposed bill, if there is no affordable casket available and the deceased is indigent, the funeral establishment shall be obliged to offer a casket of any higher value, but the price to be paid shall still not exceed P12,000.
Should the proposal be made into law, a penalty will be imposed on erring funeral parlors, with fines ranging from P200,000 to P400,000, or the revocation of their business permits or related licenses.
“Regulating the sale of caskets will greatly relieve grief-stricken families of the added financial burden, and preserve the human dignity of our fellow Filipinos, both in life and in death,” added Frasco.(PR)