Poe seeks aid for deceased indigents, minors
Even the deceased have rights, too.
With this in mind, Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday filed separate bills, one mandating burial assistance for unclaimed or unidentified deceased, and another mandating an autopsy on a minor who died due to apparent irregular or suspicious causes.
“Justice should be afforded to the dead, whether unidentified or unclaimed, or whether he or she is a minor, especially when such death is due to suspicious circumstances,” Poe said in filing the measures.
The senator said Senate Bill No. 1229 or the proposed Burial Assistance Act of 2016 seeks to expand the burial assistance program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) by mandating burial assistance to indigent decedents whose bodies remained unclaimed or unidentified, regardless of the cause of death, whether crime-related or not.
Burial assistance as defined under the bill includes sums and services that cover the costs of the casket or urn, embalming, cremation, and other related services such as viewing or wake cost, pick-up from the hospital morgue, and transport of the body to the intended burial site, but in no case shall exceed P10,000 or its adjusted value after every six years.
Poe said her proposed measure also mandates the DSWD to expedite the processing of burial assistance by refusing to treat the lack of documentation as a ground to deny or withhold assistance.
Senate Bill No. 1228, on the other hand, seeks to amend Section 95 (b) of Presidential Decree No. 856 or the Code on Sanitation of the Philippines and mandate that an autopsy be conducted on a minor who may have died due to foul play or neglect and on a person who died due to irregular or suspicious causes.
Such, the senator said, was not provided for under the existing law.
Poe said the bill also prohibited the parent, guardian, or next of kin of a deceased minor from signing a waiver against conducting an autopsy except for religious grounds, provided that this was substantiated by a document proving the religion of the deceased./rga
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