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Santiago files bill on regulating crematories

By Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 20:19:00 02/22/2011

Filed Under: Environmental Issues, Legislation, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Safety of Citizens

MANILA, Philippines?A bill that seeks to prohibit the establishment of crematories near a residential community has been filed at the Senate.


Senate Bill 2707, also known as an ?Act of Regulating Crematories? was filed by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to ensure that this would not pose hazards to public health.


While cremation was cheaper than traditional burial services, Santiago pointed out a growing body of research, which indicated that it has a significant impact on the environment.


?The major emissions from crematories are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, mercury, hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid, NMVOCs, and other heavy metals, in addition to persistent organic pollutants (POP),? she said in her explanatory note of the bill.


?According to the United Nations Environment Programme report on POP Emission Inventory Guidebook, emissions from crematories contribute 0.2 percent of the global emission of dioxins and furans (colorless heterocyclic organic compounds),? she said.


So to promote and protect the right to health of the people, Santiago proposes in her bill that ?no crematory shall be erected near a residential community where it would pose a hazard to health and air quality.?

?The erection and maintenance of crematories shall be regulated in order to promote the public health and public order,? said the bill.

The location of such crematory, under the bill, should be within the confines of an established cemetery containing not less than eight hectares, which cemetery should have been in existence and operation for at least five years immediately or within the confines of a plot of land approved for the location of a crematory by the Sangguniang Bayan [town council] or the Sangguniang Panlungsod [city council] of the municipality or city.

?Provided, that no crematory shall be located within 150 meters of any residential structure or land used for residential purposes not owned by the owner of the crematory,? it further said.

A crematory, the bill said, should also be open at all times for inspection by the Department of Health.

The proposed legislation also provides that ?No body shall be cremated until at least forty-eight (48) hours after death, unless such death was the result of communicable disease,? and that ?No body shall be received by any crematory unless accompanied by the permit provided for in this section.?

Any person who makes any false statement in procuring any permit required by the proposed measure or who violates any provision stated under the bill will be fined not more than P5,000 or will be imprisoned not more than two years, or both.



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