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.