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Manila offers free cremation for poor residents

November 28, 2008 6:04pm
MANILA, Philippines — Poor residents of Manila who wish to have their dead cremated can now avail themselves of free cremation at the Manila North Cemetery.

Mayor Alfredo S. Lim said the city government is offering the free service not just to make life easier for indigent residents but also due to the lack of burial space in the cemetery.

Lim was at the cemetery on Friday to oversee the crematory’s dry run operations. With him were cemetery head Peter Tamondong, South Cemetery chief Henry Dy and Senior Supt. Alex Gutierrez, chief of the Manila City Hall Police Office.

The new crematory is located near the entrance of the cemetery, right beside the chapel where free wakes are also being held for city residents who can’t afford to pay.

Lim noted that with the cost of cremation nowadays pegged at least P20,000 today, tens of thousands of families surely could not afford the cost.

Families also have the option to deposit the ashes of their dead at a site beside the crematorium, or take home the urn containing the ashes.

Lim said the cremation service completes his lineup of “womb to tomb" services he had long planned for Manila’s poor.

“From the moment a child is conceived, the city government already provides free pre-natal care, even as free hospital services are also offered for those who are to deliver babies," he said in a press statement.

He noted that the city’s hospitals and health care centers provides care for babies who get sick and even as they grow old, along with free elementary, high school and tertiary education.

“Regular job fairs help the graduates land jobs and should they finally decide to marry, it may be availed of in City Hall, also free of charge.

“As they become senior citizens, medical care and other services for the elderly may be enjoyed by the residents also through the efforts of the city’s social welfare department as well as the public hospitals.

The statement said Lim initiated during his previous term as mayor the plan to provide free cremation for poor residents, but it was stopped when now Environment Secretary Lito Atienza took over. - GMANews.TV