Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Monday denounced the sudden changes in maritime travel protocols that caused some locally stranded individuals to camp out at Manila North Harbor.
"Sending them home by boat was no Dunkirk-like evacuation, and yet it failed. The huddled, hungry, drenched stranded travelers painstakingly complied with all the health and police requirements, only to be denied boarding because of a new requirement," Recto said in a statement.
"Transportation protocols should not change as often as the sea tide," he added.
On Sunday, it was reported that several LSIs had no choice but to sleep outside the port after being barred from entering the premises because they do not have a PCR or swab test result.
Stranded passengers said the initial instruction was for them to secure a travel pass and a negative rapid test result, only to be advised later on that they also have to possess swab test results to be allowed to board the ships.
On Monday morning, some passengers bound for Dumaguete and Zamboanga were allowed to board ships even without negative results from swab tests.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said travel of LSIs to Western Visayas, Cebu Island including Mactan, Eastern Visayas, and Caraga region has been suspended to address local officials' concerns. — BM, GMA News