MANILA -- For nine years, Nenita Besana has risen from her struggles in persuading conservative clients to avail of a life plan to become a “death care” expert, who has already sold 2,000 policies since she began as an agent.

"Noong medyo bago pa akong nag-a-ahente, pag tinanong ko yung kliyente kung may plan na ba sila, ang sagot nila, 'Hindi pa ako mamamatay’ (When I was a new agent, whenever I asked clients if they have a life plan, they would answer, 'I won't die yet')," Besana recalled.

Often, she would answer with the most pragmatic explanation: "Preparing for the future is a wise thing to do, because we will all get there. There's no exemption."

"Ngayon, medyo open-minded na sila. Dati ang thinking nila parang nagmamadali (Now, they are more open-minded than in the past when they thought it was way too early for that)," she said in an interview last October 26.

Besana, an agent/collector of St. Peter Life Plans and Manila Memorial Park, said with the high cost of funeral services and burial in the country, an increasing number of people she encounters would just shrug at the idea of pre-need funeral plans and cremation.

"Mas makakamura kasi kung mayroon ka nang pre-need plan (It would be much cheaper if you have a pre-need plan)," she added, referring to how she convinces her clients to avail of her insurance products.

According to Besana, without a pre-need plan, the usual cash-out for funeral services alone could reach as much as PHP90,000 compared to the discounted PHP43,500. In buying lots, the cost goes as high as PHP60,000 to PHP100,000 depending on the area, she said.

The same goes with cremation, which ranges from PHP60,000 to PHP99,000.

Openness

The Old Code of Canon Law had practically prohibited the practice of cremating bodies due to the belief that “cremation of cadavers was considered anti-Christian," as burial in the earth was the norm.

In 1963, the Vatican introduced a new criterion of accepting cremation as an option, given that it is not "opposed per se to the Christian religion."

In 2016, the Church issued a new guideline, saying Catholics may be cremated but the ashes should be kept in a sacred place. (PNA)