MANILA, Philippines – The Muntinlupa City government has banned agents of funeral homes from staying in private and public hospitals after relatives of deceased patients complained they were being coerced into getting their services.
“They convince relatives to sign contracts, then tell them to go to the funeral home to choose a coffin. Once you sign, you are committed to the funeral home,” Councilor and minority floor leader Elmer Espeleta said.
According to Espeleta, these agents stay in Ospital ng Muntinlupa, Medical Center Muntinlupa, Alabang Medical Clinic and private hospitals even if hospital officials prohibit it.
He said the scheme hinders the city from implementing its program to provide free caskets and interment for those who cannot afford to pay high funeral expenses.
The agents are not employed by the funeral parlors but are volunteers who receive commissions from each contract, Espeleta said..
A public hearing was conducted on April 8 to get the reports and response of the hospitals and funeral homes on this issue, council secretary Cecil Lazarte said.
Espeleta said they will hold more public hearings before they decide if they need to pass an ordinance to address the issue.