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It’s final! PH Supreme Court makes cost of dying more affordable to elderly

by Jericho Zafra

The cost of dying is now more affordable for people age 60 and above. 

Thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling that said the 20 percent discount for senior citizens covers funeral and burial expenses.

The SC’s public information office issued a summary of the decision penned by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda this week.

Why did the Supreme Court come up with this ruling? 

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Because in 2018, a Cagayan de Oro City regional trial court (RTC) ruled in favor of Pryce Corporation Inc., when this firm selling memorial lots  excluded interment services from the state-mandated discount.

The SC pointed out that while congress did not specifically itemize these expenses in the list of services that can be slashed, it would be “unreasonable” to assume that Congress intended to differentiate between the deceased’s final solace for the purpose of granting the 20 percent discount.

The court’s public information office added: “The SC held that it follows that burial services necessarily include interment services, such as digging the land for the deceased person’s grave, its concreting, and other services being done during the actual burial.”

Relief not only for the elderly

This decision is a welcome relief not only for the seniors but for their loved ones who often shoulder the high cost of these services.

Recent tally from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that senior citizens made up 8.5 percent of the total population of the country. This equates to over 9.22 million elderly individuals in the country in 2020.

But did you know that only four out of 10 Filipino senior citizens have a pension to rely on?

A 2017 report from the Coalition of Services for the Elderly (COSE) said the government’s attempt to offer economic security for the sector only covers about 40 percent of elderly residents in the Philippines. 

As of 2021, the Social Welfare department said that it only released pensions to more than 3.07 million beneficiaries.

With the lack of social security covering them as they age, more and more senior citizens are at risk of losing their fight to be at peace until their last breath.

Cost of dying in the Philippines

Filipinos bear the brunt of the increasing cost of living but dying is a lot more costly when you do the math.

Families often used coffins for traditional burials, some coffins range from P8,000 to 20,000 depending on the type of materials used. 

Metal caskets, as the other option, are a lot more pricey and cost around P53,000 to P157,000.

Too expensive, right? 

But families don’t only need to secure a coffin, expenses during the wake, and of course, they need a final resting place for their deceased loved ones, too. That alone would cost around P50,000 to P1 million depending on the type of lot and place.

Can the poor and pensionless families of senior citizens afford this expense? 

Absolutely not.

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