Isko: DTCAM helps ferry home 600 stranded tourists, OFWs

Isko Moreno & Charlie Dungo
Mayor Isko Moreno and tourism chief Charlie Dungo before the ECQ. Photo by JERRY S. TAN

MANILA Mayor Isko Moreno yesterday said the Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila (DTCAM) headed by Charlie Dungo and his team’s effort by working 24/7 has already resulted in having ferried a total of more than 600 stranded local tourists and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Citing Dungo's report, Moreno said the DTCAM has successfully brought to their own homes, so far, more than 200 stranded local tourists and over 400 OFWs, even as it braces for the slated arrival of about 40,000 OFWs of which hundreds will surely be Manilans.

Moreno said the city government will continue helping the OFWs who are Manilans the best way it can even after the ECQ.

It was learned that the assistance in ferrying said stranded individuals began as early as April, with Dungo himself doing the tracing and coordination with them.

"Non-essential office naman kami so para makatulong, the mayor assigned us to take care of the OFWs," Dungo said, adding that his office had been in constant touch    with the Department of Tourism, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the said purpose. Aside from the free transportation, the stranded individuals are also given drinks and snacks which Dungo said are sourced from the donations to the office of the mayor.

Dungo said his team uses the vehicles assigned to his office to pick up the OFWs from either the NAIA or the Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange or PITX and then bring them to their homes but only 12 at a time, due to the observance of physical distancing and the baggage that also take up much space.

'Yung mga drivers at staff namin naka-PPE at nagsi-shifting kasi 24 hours ang hatid-sundo namin, non-stop on orders of the mayor," said Dungo, adding that even band members are now being utilized as long as they know how to drive.

Before picking up the local tourists and OFWs, Dungo said his office makes sure they have already undergone the necessary quarantine and possess the clearances saying they are free from the coronavirus disease.