‘Big send-off’ of 4,000 LSIs in Metro Manila starts today
CALOOCAN CITY, July 4 (PIA) — A “big send off” of 4,000 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Metro Manila over the weekend has been scheduled by government as part of its continuing “Hatid Tulong” initiatives, the spokesperson for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday.
Speaking before the Laging Handa public briefing powered by the Presidential Communications, DILG Spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said despite the earlier travel suspension to the Visayas region per request of governors and decision of the regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) due to COVID-19 transmissions, the Hatid Tulong program—which intends to help LSIs, OFWs, and other affected Filipinos who wish to return to their provinces—will push through for Luzon and Mindanao starting on Saturday, July 4.
“There will be a big send-off of LSIs under the Hatid Tulong Program on July 4-5, Malaya said, with the send off event scheduled at the Rizal Park in Manila the afternoon.
“There will be 100 buses, three ships, one airplane and a train to ferry the LSIs. On July 4, the trip will be to Mindanao and on July 5, to Luzon,” he added, emphasizing its their collective goal to make the whole government more responsive to the rapidly changing concerns brought by the global health crisis.
“Yun pong sa Visayas natin ay hindi muna makauuwi dahil nga po sa naging desisyon ng regional IATF sa Eastern Visayas and ‘yung request naman ng mga gobernador sa Western Visayas,” he furthered.
Malaya, meanwhile, assured accepting local government units (LGUs) that proper health and safety protocols were in place prior to their travel to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“All LSIs being sent home have medical clearance certificate and travel authority. Their return are [also] coordinated with respective LGUs,” he said, explaining they made sure that receiving LGUs are willing and ready to accept their constituents.
The official, however, said it is up to LGUs to impose any additional health and safety protocols, such as the conduct of additional PCR testing or putting them in quarantine facilities, when the LSIs arrive at their areas of jurisdiction.
“There is vigilance on both ends—here in Manila and the LGU destination,” he said.
Malaya said the Philippine Ports Authority and the Department of Transportation are also assisting the LSIs, especially those bound for the Visayas but are unable to leave at the moment due to restrictions. (PIA NCR)