A P25,000-“funeral support fund” will be given to indigents who died due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a Palace official said on Wednesday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be providing the fund to indigents who suffered from COVID-19, whether confirmed cases or persons under investigation (PUIs).

“The DSWD shall allocate amounts for a funeral support fund allotted to the indigent confirmed Covid-19 cases and PUIs regardless whether they are undergoing home quarantine or admitted in a public or private facility. DSWD shall allot PHP25,000 per deceased for this purpose,” he said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

Funeral and interment services are still allowed to remain operational despite the quarantine under the guidelines issued by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In handling the remains of COVID-19 cases, Nograles said general infection precautions must be strictly observed to prevent further spread of the disease.

Local government units (LGUs) will be designated to provide funeral service facilities to handle the remains of COVID-19 cases, he said.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said LGUs should assign funeral service facilities that can cremate the remains within 12 hours from the time of death.

If the deceased is a Muslim, he said the remains should be placed in an air-tight sealed bag or container and buried in the nearest Muslim cemetery within 12 hours while observing Muslim rites.

Nograles said LGUs will also be tasked to provide “possible financial assistance to cover the logistics, fuel, salary, and other expenses that will be incurred in the process”, he added.

He noted that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and LGUs will monitor and penalize funeral homes that refused to provide logistics and transport remains of Covid-19 cases.

The LGU may release issuances or ordinances to put a price cap or impose a price freeze on funeral services located within their jurisdiction, he said.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that funeral services staff and personnel are exempted from the community quarantine.

“The said individuals may freely move and travel to ensure that the remains of the deceased individuals will be given proper funeral services,” he said.

He said funeral companies are also directed to provide transportation and/or housing accommodations for funeral service staff. (PNA)

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