MORE than 8,000 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) are set to go back to their home provinces this coming weekend, July 25-26, 2020, through the Hatid Tulong program, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año says the government remains committed to ensure that LSIs will be able to go home to their provinces safe and sound. He said the second installment of Hatid Tulong program will bring home some 8,408 LSIs exceeding the initial target number of 4,000 individuals.
“Ito ang nais nating malaman ng publiko na ang pamahalaan ay patuloy sa pagtulong sa ating mga LSI at ito ngang Sabado at Linggo, July 25 at 26, ay halos walong libo na ang uuwi sa kanilang mga pamilya sa probinsiya,” Año says.
Año said these LSIs include the ones staying at the Philippine Army Gymnasium, Villamor Air Base Elementary School, Manila Science High School, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The second batch also includes LSIs endorsed by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, other government agencies, and Local Government Units.
He explains that for the 2nd phase of the Hatid Tulong Program, returning LSIs will board 120 buses, five sea vessels, two of which are from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and three from the Philippine Coast Guard; and Philippine National Railways trains.
“Gaya ng first batch noong unang linggo ng July, we will be ensuring that our LSIs will be comfortable and safe in the transportation modes that the government has prepared for them,” he says. Returning LSIs will also be given food and non-food aid during their travel.
Meanwhile, DILG National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO) Director Dennis Villaseñor explains that LSIs who wish to go home to LGUs that still have an existing moratorium will not yet be allowed to return to their provinces. He said they will be brought to a temporary housing facility in the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
“Iginagalang po natin ang ating mga pamahalaang lokal kung saan babalik ang ating mga LSI. Kung sila po ay patungo sa mga LGU na may umiiral pang moratorium ay hindi muna natin sila mapapauwi at pansamantalang dadalhin sa isang maayos na housing facility sa Bulacan,” Villaseñor says.
He added that the government is considering the absorptive capacity of the receiving LGU. “Tinitignan po natin kung puno na ba ang kanilang mga pasilidad, may available pa ba silang test kits na magiging basehan para aprubahan ang request for a moratorium.”
In an advisory released by the DILG yesterday, July 21, 2020, Año reminds LGUs with departing and returning LSIs to support the Hatid Tulong program.