MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night urged owners of crematoriums to maintain the prices of their services before the declaration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

“Ito namang may-ari ng crematorium, may I ask you to maintain ‘yung presyo ng cremation before and ante quarantine. Ibig sabihin, ‘yung presyo na wala pa tayong problema, ‘yun ang ibigay ninyo (These owners of crematoriums, may I ask you to maintain the price of cremation before and ante quarantine. This means, the price before we had problems, that’s what you should give),” he said in a televised public address.

Duterte warned crematorium owners who raised the prices of their services that he would order the remains of patients who died due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) to be left in there without being claimed.

“Ngayon, kung taasan ninyo ‘yung presyo tapos…iiwan ko yung patay diyan sa inyo (Now, if you increase the price of your services…I’ll leave the remains there),” he said.

Under the funeral guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), crematoriums must cremate the remains of Covid-19 fatalities within 12 hours from the time of death.

Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson Karlo Nograles urged crematoriums to start cremation without waiting for payments.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will be providing a PHP25,000 “funeral support fund” to indigents who died of Covid-19, whether confirmed, suspect or probable cases.

Meanwhile, local government units are in charge of providing “possible financial assistance to cover the logistics, fuel, salary, and other expenses that will be incurred in the process.”

Sanctuary of the sick

Duterte, meanwhile, reiterated his call for hospitals to accept all patients, including those suspected of being infected with Covid-19.

“Ospital kayo (You are a hospital), you are the sanctuary of the sick, you do not choose the ailment of the patient you are accepting. It’s simply not within your power morally. Kaya maghanap kayo ng paraan (That’s why find a way on) how to deal with the problem because you are a hospital,” he said.

Duterte acknowledged that some hospitals had to turn down patients because they were full, but he suggested that they should build a makeshift tent to treat suspected Covid-19 patients.

He said hospitals that refused to accept patients could face suspension.

“Hindi mo kaya maging hospital, sasarhan nalang kita (If you cannot be a proper hospital, I will call for its closure). Why pretend to be a hospital when you are not a hospital? Because you cannot choose the patients that you have to attend to medically. I hope I have made myself very clear on this,” he said.

He also ordered the Department of Health to investigate reports of patients being rejected by hospitals. (PNA)

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