A total of 8,408 locally stranded individuals are set to go back to their home provinces during the weekend as part of the government's Hatid Tulong program, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Friday.
“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,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
Año said these LSIs are the ones staying at the Philippine Army Gymnasium, Villamor Air Base Elementary School, Manila Science High School, and Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
He added that the second batch also includes LSIs endorsed by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, other government agencies, and local government units.
According to the DILG chief, the 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 trains from the Philippine National Railways.
Food and non-food assistance will be provided to the LSIs during their travel, Año said.
“Gaya ng first batch ng Hatid Tulong 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 said.
Meanwhile, DILG National Barangay Operations Office (NBOO) director Dennis Villaseñor also said 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 would be brought to a temporary housing facility in the City of San Jose d el Monte in 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 said.
“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," he added. — RSJ, GMA News