MMDA to 'bridge the gap' between LGUs, agencies in handling COVID-19 remains

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 15) — The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will serve as a coordinating agency of local government units, hospitals, and crematory services to steer clear of problems hounding the burial and cremation procedures for the remains of COVID-19 fatalities, its spokesperson said.

"We'll try to bridge the gap between LGUs, hospitals, and crematory services," MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago stated in a public briefing Wednesday.

"Tayo ho ang magsisilbing coordinating agency dahil ho nakaka-encounter ng iba't ibang problema ang mga local government at hospital, kagaya po ng delayed release[s] sa [burial] certificate. [....] Kailangan po may lead agency na mag-cocoordinate," she added.

[Translation: We will act as the coordinating agency because local government units and hospitals encounter various problems, like the delayed release(s) of (burial) certificates. (....) There should be a lead agency for coordination.]

The MMDA clarified that it will not take charge of the transport of remains of COVID-19 infected patients.

"Ang MMDA po will not be responsible in terms of collecting, transporting, and disposing [remains] na mula po sa COVID-19 casualties po natin," Pialago said.

[Translation: The MMDA will not be responsible for collecting, transporting, and disposing (remains) from our COVID-19 casualties.]

She said officials of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and representatives of the concerned agencies will meet on Thursday to address logistical issues and other concerns.

"Most probably po the day after the meeting, makakapaglabas na po tayo ng proper guidelines on how to effectively and efficiently manage the [remains]," the MMDA spokesperson said.

[Translation: We will release proper guidelines on how to effectively and efficiently manage the (remains) most probably the day after the meeting.]

"Lahat po ng limitasyon ng aming ahensya ay mapag-uusapan sa meeting," she added.

[Translation: The limitations of our agency will be tackled in the meeting.]

The Philippines now has 5,223 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries.

The entire Luzon has been placed under enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the viral disease. Provinces and municipalities outside the most populous island group have also implemented community quarantine amid the continuing rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.