Family who lost father amid Taal eruption charged P70,000 for funeral
BATANGAS, Philippines (UPDATED) – A family of evacuees who lost their father amid Taal Volcano’s unrest has faced yet another obstacle: paying the funeral parlor bill amounting to P70,500.
Jevelyn Baleros Ilagan relayed this to Rappler in an interview on Saturday, January 18. She is the eldest of the 7 children of Antonio Baleros, one of the first evacuees who died following the eruption of the Taal Volcano on January 12.
Jevelyn, 24, choked back tears as she recalled how they chose the funeral parlor to take care of their father's burial service amid fears of a full-blown eruption of Taal Volcano.
Their father died just hours after they reached the Bauan Technical High School evacuation site at 3 am on Monday, January 13. She said they could not leave their hometown, Taal, earlier because of the thick ashfall.
Antonio, who sold panutsa or sweet peanut discs Tagaytay is known for, died that same night. He was 51.
Jevelyn said her family could not even grieve properly, as when Antonio died there was the threat of Taal Volcano's imminent hazardous eruption. She said they had to “rush” to search for a funeral home to bury their father, and found Filipinas Funeral Homes in Bauan.
They wanted to make sure that he was properly buried before it was too late.
“Kahit masakit, ayun, pinagpasyahan na namin na kahit masakit, mas gugustuhin namin na ayos na siya sa kalagayan niya, kaysa ho iwanan namin siya na nandiyan na ‘di namin alam ang mangyayari (Even if it pained us, we decided that we would rather have him in a secure place already, instead of being forced by the volcano’s eruption to leave him in a wake and be clueless on where he was),” Jevelyn said.
The original bill was P75,000. They got a 10% discount, but were charged P3,000 for Antonio's burial clothes, for a final bill of P70,500.
“Hindi po mapakiusapan na mabawasan (They couldn't be persuaded to lower the price even after bargaining),” Jevelyn said.
Gino Baleros, Jevelyn's cousin, told Rappler that when they checked the rates of other funeral homes, he got quotations for as low as P30,000. But this was after they had already used the services of Filipinas Funeral Homes.
The family got government assistance for the funeral: P10,000 from Bauan Mayor Ryanh Dolor, P10,000 from Taal Mayor Fulgencio Mercado, P5,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and P7,000 from other people, for a total of P32,000.
They paid the funeral parlor an initial P25,000, and spent P7,000 on supplies, so they owed P45,500 more.
Antonio was laid to rest in Taal on Friday, January 17, after a 3-day wake.
Rappler went to the Bauan branch of the Filipinas Funeral Homes on Saturday, January 18, to seek comment but it was closed.
Those who would like to help the Baleros family may do so through BPI Savings Account No. 3479127068, under the name of Jernalyn Gaa, Jevelyn's cousin. – Rappler.com