Bill mandating release of cadavers 24 hours after death approved

In recognition of the different burial rites of various religions in the country, the House passed on third and final reading a bill requiring medical facilities to release to the family a cadaver in their possession within 24 hours from the time of death.

House Bill 8627, authored by Reps. Bai Sandra Sinsuat Sema (1st District, Maguindanao) and Mauyag Papandayan Jr. (2nd District, Lanao del Sur), seeks to amend Republic Act 9349 entitled "An Act Prohibiting the Detention of Patients in Hospitals and Medical Clinics on Grounds of Nonpayment of Hospital Bills or Medical Expenses."

The measure seeks to honor customs and traditions of Muslim, Christian, and Indigenous Filipinos with regard to their religious burial rites, especially those that require burial after death.

HB 8627 seeks to mandate the immediate release within 24 hours of the cadavers of Muslims, Christians or Indigenous Peoples in the custody of government hospitals, medical clinic, morgue, or other facilities.

For a private hospital, the family of the deceased shall execute a promissory note to the concerned establishment on the amount incurred for the release of the cadaver.

The bill further excludes from the policy of leniency towards patients who cannot afford to pay their hospital bills those who are confined in private hospital rooms.

Specifically, the relevant provision under Section 2 of RA 9349 now reads:

"The cadaver of a deceased patient shall be released within 24 hours from the time of death to the family or relatives in recognition of religious practices and traditions as Muslims, Christians or Indigenous Peoples and the corresponding death certificate and other documents required for interment and other purposes shall be released to any of the surviving relatives requesting for the same: Provided, however, That patients who stayed in private rooms shall not be covered by this Act."

Lastly, the bill provides that the necessary rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of the measure shall be promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH). | Czarina Engracia

Source; House of Representatives

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