Palace justifies delay in burial of ‘Yolanda’ victims


Malacañang on Thursday attributed the delay in burying some 1,400 bodies of Typhoon Yolanda victims in Tacloban City to the complicated process of identifying them.

Quoting a statement from Rehabilitation Czar Panfilo Lacson, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had sent more equipment while the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) redeployed its forensic team on the ground to speed up the identification of bodies.

He said the DOH has sent 1,500 body bags and protective kits for personnel handling the remains while the DPWH sent additional backhoes and payloaders.

“The DOH, NBI and DPWH are coordinating with the Tacloban City government in this regard,” Coloma added.

He said the government is considering other suggestions to speed up the burial, including modifying the procedure used by the NBI to identify the remains.

Coloma said that some sectors had pointed out that the NBI adheres to the procedures used by the International Police Organization (Interpol), which are thorough but take more time.

“Some agencies had conveyed to the NBI a suggestion to modify the procedures since Interpol procedures are used to gather evidence in criminal cases and are thus more thorough but time-consuming. Victims of the calamity are not similarly situated as victims of crimes, so I think that is a point that may be discussed,” Coloma said.


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  1. Of course there’s an excuse. Caught with their pants down, again, Malacanang needs to spin, spin, spin. They’ve been slow and ineffectual about everything else, so why worry about some insignificant bodies (until the foreign press exposes). Student council administration talaga. Shame.

  2. The main complaint is not the delay in burial, but rather in the disrespectful and inhumane way the Leyte Provincial government, the City of Tacloban, DILG under Mar Roxas and the Department of Health treated the bodies of 1,400 victims of Typhoon Yolanda. These people in charge of looking after these bodies just got these dead people dumped in an open field like garbage – to rot and be feasted on by millions of flies! The callous way these dead were treated should shock our nation. BS Aquino could have expressed indignation on this and got a few heads rolling, but so far, a Malacanang mouthpiece just lamely said “Explain the fly factory”, referring to this dumping field with millions of flies feasting on the dead bodies. If CNN’s Anderson Cooper was here to report this heartless and shameful way these 1,400 bodies were dumped and let to rot in an open field, instead of being placed in a refrigerated warehouse, the world will surely be shocked at how heartless our officials are!

    The cold-hearted dumping of the bodies of these victims is a shame that will haunt BS Aquino’s administration till the day he steps out of his office. This government treats the poor victims of Typhoon Yolanda as nothing but trash.

  3. So many lame excuses! Going to 8 weeks and the dead are not identified yet? NBI should have taken photographs before the body bags were closed, tagged the bags that correspond to the pictures and published in yellow newspapers who claimed large readership (or post them at the town plaza). I doubt if not one or two can be identified by those who survived.

  4. There was a proposal if it hasn’t been enforced yet about wearing identification tags. Maybe in the future, when an incoming disaster is about to strike in some areas where the typhoon will hit, citizens should require to wear their ID’s after the announcement of readiness alert.

    This would probably alleviate the problem of identifying casualties saving manpower and disaster funds.

  5. Perhaps one form of speedy identifying some of the decaying corpses is asking some of the survivors in the areas where the bodies were found, who are still missing with their relatives? The barangay officials should know who are residing within their jurisdiction. How many barangays are in that particular town? It will probably take less than a week to conduct census count using the available manpower.

    Just like during World War I, a grave was made for those unknown soldiers, and similarly during the Famous Death March in World War II.

    For the Yolanda victims who will be buried in the mass grave, death certificate may be made to those unaccounted for. Then at a later date, should the person surface claiming he/she is still alive, correction can be made on their “death certificate”.