This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Operation: Burial at No Cost
Local Government Unit — San Agustin, Romblon
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Leadership, Customer and citizen focus
The Local Government Unit of San Agustin Romblon covers all expenditures of deceased patients from the time of his/her death to his/her resting grounds from the year 2017 to the present time. This service was made exclusive for indigent families only. This practice was initiated by the Sangguniang Bayan officials in order to provide hope to the bereaved families, who are hard-up and could not raise enough funds, that the local government could assist them to ensure simple but decent funeral services to their loved ones.
Background and Problem
It is difficult to die when one is poor because if one dies among their family members and loved ones, they would not have enough money for burial expenses. It would be a big deal to the family especially when they could barely meet their needs with only small earnings. It is of greatest concern when they have no regular jobs and would rather prioritize buying something to eat at their table for their families, most especially for their children. It has been observed that many indigent families in the municipality lack the capacity to bury their dead so that they resort to solicitations, not only from the local officials but also from others who could give. Usually, they would seek support financially from the LGU, particularly through the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) through the Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Fund. Depending on the social assessment, one family could receive from the range of P 1,000.00 to P 10,000.00 for burial assistance alone. This had been the practice so that the LGU formulated a burial assistance mechanism solely for indigent families. Thus, the “Libreng Palibing” Program was conceptualized and operationalized last April 2017 and continues to be implemented up to the present time.
Solution and Impact
The LGU had to find a way to be of service to indigent families as it has become a routine that the AICS of the MSWD Office is being accessed each time that financial assistance is needed. The Executive and Legislative Departments of the LGU passed and approved Sangguniang Bayan Resolution No 37-2017 last April 3, 2017, authorizing the Municipal Mayor to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with a recognized Funeral Parlor, that will provide a package of funeral and burial services to the deceased indigent, from his/her time of death to his/her resting ground, in a number of services worth Ten thousand pesos (P 10,000.00) at the expense of the Local Government Unit. With our Community-based Management Information System (CBMIS) as a basis for identifying indigent families of the municipality, the barangays also availed the same program for their constituents. La Funenaria San Antonio, the lone existing and operating funeral parlor and provider at the municipality, with which the SB Officials had previous arrangements, complied with the requirements for the services needed after the agreement last April 12, 2017, with the LGU.
This practice in the LGU provided an immediate means to indigent families to have a simple and decent funeral and burial for their deceased. It linked them to the same package of services that a funeral parlor could offer to families who could afford it. This practice, otherwise, gave indigent families fewer worries, especially ﬁnancially. This practice is a manifestation of the pro-poor policies of the current administration.
From April to December 2017, about 30 indigent families have benefited from the program. In 2018, there 27 recipients were provided assistance e3r23by the LGU. This current year to date, the LGU has already provided support to 10 indigent families. This brings to a total of 67 beneficiaries so far which translates to a total expenditure of P627,000.00 and still continuing.