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Hundreds of LSIs at the Rizal Memorial Stadium wait for assistance so they can go home

Hundreds of Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) are staying at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Friday night awaiting to be brought home to their respective home provinces, GMA News' Jonathan Andal reported.

Some of the LSIs have prepared makeshift beds outside the stadium because social distancing protocols are no longer followed and they are concerned that they may be infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The second phase of the Hatid Tulong program of the government is expected to commence on Saturday.

The first batch of beneficiaries will be individuals bound for Mindanao. On Sunday, the second batch is expected to leave for the Visayas.

All the beneficiaries will have to undergo rapid testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) before they are allowed to leave.

According to Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo, there are about 9,000 LSIs who will be able to go home to their respective provinces this weekend.

A second Hatid Tulong program of the government has been earlier set by the last week of July.

Earlier this month, about 4,000 LSIs were sent home after they were tested negative for COVID-19.

Most of these individuals were stranded in Metro Manila when quarantine protocols were implemented starting mid-March as part of the government's efforts to curb the rise in cOVID-19 cases. -- BAP, GMA News