Solon wants to probe overpriced ‘kabaong’, funeral services

A LAWMAKER has called for a congressional inquiry into the alleged overpricing of funeral services in the country.

In House Resolution 2521, Rep. Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman (1st District, Lanao del Sur) said a congressional investigation should be conducted to determine what possible measures can be undertaken by the government to address the matter.

“It is not clear to the public what are the bases of these burial charges, where these come from and how they arrived at the figures for their services,” Pangandaman said.

Citing a 2005 survey by the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) on funeral services, Pangandaman said an average funeral service package is P25,000.

Pangandaman said memorial lots in public and private cemeteries would cost an average of P50,000 for a lot package including succeeding lease payments. A funeral service includes the casket, embalming and interment.

The study showed that the cheapest casket being offered by the Loyola Memorial Park is P50,000.  Its expensive funeral packages consisting of casket, embalming, a five-day wake, refreshments, hearse and interment can cost up to P1.5 million.

Cremation, which has become more popular nowadays is said to be the relatively simpler and cheaper way of burial.  Some funeral parlors offer cremation services ranging from P20,000 to as high as P150,000.

Small funeral parlors in Metro Manila and nearby provinces offer a funeral package which they dubbed, “Pangmasang Libing” costing from P5,000 to P20,000. It includes the coffin, embalming and interment.

Other funeral homes offers caskets and burial services from P20,000 to P50,000 for Class C,  P80,000 to P100,000 for Class B and P500,000 to up to P1 million with bronze caskets.

“Some funeral homes are also offering expensive bronze caskets that have a lock system feature which makes the deterioration of the remains slower compared to an ordinary casket,” Pangandaman said.

“People who are left behind by the deceased and want to have decent funeral and burial services for their dearly departed loved ones, are significantly affected not only emotionally but financially as well, due to the high price of these services,” Pangandaman added.

At present, Pangandaman said there are many pending bills for consideration in both chambers of Congress to regulate, help, assist and subsidize the cost of funeral expenses of poor families.

“While some rich families can afford the high cost for a funeral wake, the poor, marginalized and underprivileged people cannot because they have no money to do so. Congress should then pass a law to help our poor countrymen who are grieving for their lost loved ones,” Pangandaman said.

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