In the hope of addressing some of the concerns of the marginalized sector in the locality especially during moments of the loss of a loved one, City Councilors Leandro Yangot Jr. and Lilia Fariñas filed a proposed legislative measure that would provide free burial services for indigent residents in the City of Baguio.
Dubbed as “The Pauper’s Burial Ordinance in the City of Baguio” the said piece of legislation will authorize the free burial of indigent residents in the city as a form of assistance provided by the local government.
In the explanatory note of the proposed ordinance councillors Yangot and Fariñas cited Section 9 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which provides that the State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all. Pursuant to this mandate the local government units are duty bound to enact local ordinances, approve resolutions, and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the locality and its inhabitants.
It was also noted by the said local legislators that “poor relief pertains to government and ecclesiastical action to relive poverty. This primordial concern has left the government including various entities many years to decide whose poverty deserves relief and who should shoulder the cost of addressing the needs of the poor. Alongside ever-changing attitudes towards poverty, many methods have been undertaken to answer these questions”.
In the event of its approval the program under the said proposed measure shall only be available to indigent residents of Baguio City and where the deceased and/or his/her living family must be bonafide residents and/or inhabitants in the city.
As provided for under the rules and regulations of the said pauper’s burial program, among others, (1) no person can avail of the services of the program except upon approval of the City Mayor or his duly authorized representative via certification and recommendation from the office of the City Social Welfare and Development, which shall determine the financial status and condition of the prospective beneficiary and his/her family, (2) licensed funeral parlors shall be responsible in the disposal of the remains of the deceased in accordance with the proper disposal of the dead pursuant to PD 856 otherwise known as the Sanitation Code of the Philippines, (3) the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) shall identify the area for the interment of the deceased indigent at the Baguio City Cemetery, (4) The City Government of Baguio through the City Mayor may enter into a contract with a legitimate funeral parlor operating within the City of Baguio to perform the funeral services, (5) xxx, (6) The City Government of Baguio shall provide for a limited financial assistance in the amount of two thousand pesos (P 2,000.00) only, (7) Should any of the next of kin or the nearest kin of the deceased decide to remove the remains of the deceased, the following shall apply: (a) for five (5) years and above from the date of burial, exhumation permit shall be issued by the Health Services Office; (b) if less than five (5) years, exhumation permits shall be issued by the Department of Health-Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CAR), (8) xxx, (9) xxx, (10) xxx.
Finally the said proposed ordinance likewise provided for the definition of a pauper, to wit: (a) any person or family who has no means at all of even supporting himself/themselves or without means of livelihood, (b) any person or family who is so poor that he/ they must be supported at public expense, and (c) any person or family who has no property or income sufficient for their support aside from their labor.