A grieving father was forced to walk from Pasig City to Makati City carrying his dead baby in a box as mass transportation was not available due to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
According to Makati East Rembo’s Facebook post, Rodel Canas traveled by foot from Rizal Medical Center in Pasig to Barangay East Rembo to give his 32-day-old son a proper burial.
In a statement, the Rizal Medical Center said Canas brought his wife to the hospital last March 11 to give birth prematurely.
The premature baby was confined before he passed away on April 13 due to respiratory distress syndrome caused by sepsis.
“Lahat ng pangangailangan ng sanggol habang nasa NICU ay ibinigay ng Rizal Medical Center, upang maisalba ang buhay ng sanggol na ito, kahit na may malubhang congenital anomalies at guarded ang prognosis ng kalagayan niya,” the hospital said.
Canas was billed P246,789 by the hospital to cover the confinement and delivery of his wife.
According to the hospital, indigent people can avail of financial assistance to cover the whole bill and would just have to present proper documents.
The hospital said Canas could not wait to accomplish the documents and signed a promissory note instead.
Canas, however, promised he would return the next day to fix whatever is needed so he can prioritize his son’s burial.
“Ang polisya ng ospital ukol sa mga labi na nakalagay sa morgue: Sa loob ng 4 na oras na hindi pa ito i-claim ng mga kamag-anak, mayroong punerarya na kumukuha ng mga ito.”
“Doon na makikipag-usap ang mga kamag-anak. Ang labi ng sanggol ay natanggap ng April 13 ng 5:00 pm at ito ay na-claim noong April 13 ng 8:50 pm.”
According to the hospital staff who released the baby’s body, Canas asked if he could just take home the corpse because he had no means of paying for the cremation.
“At dahil na rin sa COVID crisis, hindi rin gusto ng ospital na magtagal ang mga labi dahil sa mga ibang namamatay na mga COVID cases,” the hospital added.
Upon returning home, Canas sought the help of Thelma Ramirez, the barangay captain of East Rembo, who gave him a certificate of indigency.
Ramirez then helped Canas arrange his son’s burial. He initially wanted to bury it at a vacant lot inside the compound they are renting.
The Rizal Medical Center, meanwhile, mourned the passing of the baby.
“Sa huli, hindi ninais ng aming ospital na maging ganito ang sitwasyon. Muli, kami ay nakikiramay sa mga magulang at kamag-anak ng sanggol na ito. Sa lahat ng aming makakaya, kami ay narito upang tumulong.” —LDF, GMA News