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LSIs still camping outside Hatid Tulong center in Taguig

Several locally stranded individuals (LSIs) continued to camp out outside the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on Thursday in the hopes of being accommodated in the government’s Hatid Tulong program.

According to Emil Sumangil’s report on “24 Oras,” hundreds of LSIs had already been sent back home to the provinces but more continued to pour in. 

Outside the Libingan ng mga Bayani, several LSIs set up makeshift tents while waiting for a chance to return home.

Hatid Tulong program lead convenor Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo said walk-ins cannot be immediately accommodated since a process must be observed.

LSIs were advised to text their name, complete address in the province, and contact number to 09973925148 or 09052562907 for OFWs, 09518914835 for students, 09452905848 for tourists, and 09666122654 or 09496145288 for workers.

“Marami pa tayong mga LSIs. Mga kababayan na napag-iwanan, kaunting pasensya na lang. Sa lalong mabilis na panahon, kami po’y tatawag sa inyo at magte-text para mabigyan ng proper instruction ang inyong pag-uwi,” Encabo said.

Some LSIs even gathered outside the Rizal Coliseum in Manila, the previous holding area for the Hatid Tulong program, even though operations had been moved to Taguig.

“May tumawag sa amin, meron daw ngayon na Balik Probinsya e wala naman. Pagdating namin dito pinaalis kami ng guwardiya. Wala raw mag-register ngayon,” a woman said.

“Napakalapit po kasi natin sa quarantine facility at delikado po sila’t baka mahawa po sila kaya namin sila inaalis dito,” the security guard explained.

Encabo earlier said stricter measures had been put in place to prevent a repeat of the overcrowding of the Rizal Coliseum that led to the COVID-19 infection of several LSIs. 

“Manageable at calculated ‘yung ating pag-send off sa kanila, mas napaaga, mas madali po ang pagdating nila sa probinsya,” he said.

“Mas napatindi natin at napa-enhance ‘yung ating medical protocol… mas pinatindi natin ‘yung health assessment bago sila uuwi,” Encabo added. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News