ANGELES CITY, Philippines – As part of a new social service program, the city government of Angeles in Pampanga will provide an initial 62 free coffins to indigent families, Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. announced on Tuesday, December 28.
“It may sound unusual, but this is the reality,” said Lazatin, adding that death is a prohibitive expense for poor families.
The mayor, who is running for a reelection in the May 2022 elections, said 62 caskets, each worth P10,000, are now available at the Angeles City Public Cemetery in Barangay Sapalibutad.
By 2022, Lazatin added, the city government will purchase another P600,000 worth of coffins for more poor families.
Angeles City Public Cemetery officer Philip Samson said applicants should be residents of the city who should submit a death certificate, a barangay certificate of indigency, and a referral letter from the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
“Ang makakapag-avail po ay ‘yung mga namatay na indigent na walang kakayahan na makapag-bayad ng casket sa private funeral home,” Samson said. (Those eligible are indigent families who cannot afford to buy a casket from a private funeral home.)
The city government also allocated P12.5 million for the construction of a new columbarium, which will begin in January 2022, and the renovation of the existing facility.
City chief adviser IC Calaguas said the projects are urgent due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. She said it will take three months to build a new crematorium, after which the city will start repairs on the old one.
The city government will also offer residents a discount for the cremation process and the use of the columbarium, she added. – Rappler.com
Joann Manabat is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship