Free burial assistance for indigent residents approved by city council

Nov 25, 2017

BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved on final reading Ordinance No. 107 series of 2017 or the Pauper’s Burial Ordinance in the City of Baguio which provides free burial services to residents who are indigent, street roamers or unclaimed victims of disasters or crimes.
Authored by Councilors Leandro Yangot Jr. and Lilia Fariñas, the measure “addresses the concerns of the marginalized sector in the locality in times of loss of a loved one where since the tough economic times have left them struggling with day-to-day expenses, their meager earnings and little savings hardly cope with emergency situations” like death.
The program will be available only to indigents, street roamers, victims of disasters or crimes who have no claimants and who are residents or whose living family members are bonafide residents of Baguio.
As per the ordinance, an indigent is defined as “any person or family who has no means at all of even supporting himself/themselves or without means of livelihood; any person or family who is so poor that he/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 rules spelled out in the measure were:
*No person can avail of the services of the program unless upon the approval by the City Mayor or his duly authorized representative. The City Social Welfare and Development Office and the City Health Services Office shall determine the financial status and condition of the prospective beneficiary and his/her family and, upon determination that the beneficiary is an indigent, shall issue a Certification to said effect;
*Licensed funeral parlors shall be responsible in the clearance of the remains of the indigent deceased in accordance with the proper disposal of the dead pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 856 [Sanitation Code of the Philippines];
*The City Environment and Parks Management Office shall identify the area for the interment of the indigent deceased at the Baguio City Cemetery;
*The City Government through the mayor may enter into a contract with a legitimate funeral parlor operating within the City of Baguio to perform the funeral services;
*The General Services Office shall be authorized to call for bids for the clearance of the indigent’s remains. The bidding shall be made every year in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 9184 [Government Procurement Reform Act];
*The City shall provide for a limited financial assistance of ± 2,000 only;
*The City 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 five-year period provided, that a written consent is given by the next of kin or the nearest of kin of the deceased. However, if public safety, public health, and public order requires, the City shall have the authority to remove whatever remains are left inside the burial space with or without the consent of the next of kin or the nearest of kin of the deceased;
*Should any of the next of kin or the nearest kin of the indigent deceased decide to remove the remains of the deceased, the following shall apply: (a) for five years and above from the date of burial, Exhumation Permit shall be issued by the City Health Services Office; and (b) if less than five years, Exhumation Permit shall be issued by the Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR);
*Any improvement introduced on the burial space or ground shall belong to the City Government of Baguio without any obligation of paying or reimbursing the cost of the improvements.
*The Book of Register and/or Death Certificate shall be kept and encoded to record, among others, the following: name of the deceased, other personal data, date and time of death, certification of the CHSO as to the cause of death, name and address of the funeral parlor, certification of embalming, date of burial, name and address of the cemetery, Certificate of No Landholding from the City Assessor’s Office, certification by the CSWDO that the prospective beneficiary and his/her family is indigent and certification of approval of the City Mayor;
*The Book of Register and/or Death Certificate shall be considered as a public and official document. The Office of the City Civil Registrar shall be responsible for the maintenance and safekeeping of the Book of Register and/or Death Certificate and shall cause the availability and production of copy or copies of said document upon formal written request.
The ordinance also mandates the CSWDO in coordination with the CHSO to promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the measure. Aileen P. Refuerzo / ABN

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