Philippines – Funeral Business in Crisis

MANILA – THE global financial crisis is starting to have an impact on the funeral business in the Philippines, with the industry reporting a rise in a preference for modest send-offs, it was reported on Friday.

Funerals, whether for rich or poor, tend to be lavish affairs with no expense spared in this South-east Asian Roman Catholic country.

However, people are starting to cut down on costs, Renato Dychangco, president of the Philippine Mortuary Association (PMA), told the BusinessWorld newspaper.

Adding to his members’ woes, the industry, he said, now also has to ‘deal with higher fuel, power and labour costs’.

‘Here in the Philippines, most of the people are in the lower to middle classes,’ he told the paper.

‘So with their buying power squeezed, they have to cut back on expenses and some of that includes funeral spending,’ Mr Dychangco said.

However, Mr Antonio Puyat, chief operating officer of Loyola Memorial Park, one of Manila’s biggest funeral homes, said scrimping on funerals had not ‘plunged to the bare-bones level’.

‘Filipinos are not spending heavily on burials, unlike the Chinese, but they make sure that while the service is modest, it is dignified,’ Mr Puyat told the paper.

La Funeraria Paz assistant vice-president Renato Tanquintic said that while business was good he had noticed ‘upscale clients reducing spending’. ‘Times are hard,’ he told the paper.