MMDA to coordinate with gov't agencies on remains of COVID-19 patients

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 15 2020 04:00 AM | Updated as of Apr 15 2020 12:01 PM

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MANILA -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will coordinate with concerned government agencies on how to handle the remains of patients who died from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), its spokesperson Celine Pialago said Tuesday.

Pialago said they are not responsible for the collection, transportion, and internment of the remains but will bridge the gap between hospitals, local government units (LGUs), and funeral and crematory services to address the matter.

"Common problems now are delayed release of death certificates and some patients who die in different LGUs from their place of residence," Pialago told ANC.

"At least there would be one leading agency that can tap the funeral services, the LGUs ... Some of the patients died in a particular city which is far from his or her residence so there should be a close coordination," she added.

Pialago said officials of concerned government agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government, LGUs, and funeral and crematory services will meet on Thursday in order to address logistical concerns and other issues.

"We hope to formulate proper guidelines and procedures to effectively and efficiently manage dead bodies," Pialago said.

"Kung ano man po 'yong additional needs, pangangailangan po from our end, we are very much willing to provide it. So we really need to talk and discuss to them on Thursday para po maplantsa natin, their plans, their needs, their suggestions at 'yung pwede pa po nating maitulong sa kanila." 

The Department of Health and the East Avenue Medical Center earlier rejected allegations that there is an order to halt the counting of COVID-19 fatalities.

This after talks circulated online that bodies were supposedly piling up at hospitals instead of being cremated, and hospitals in Quezon City were allegedly told not to do a census on deaths.

As of Tuesday, the health department tallied 5,223 COVID-19 infections, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries.