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Over 13k people still stranded in Luzon due to COVID-19 restrictions — Palace exec

More than 13,000 individuals stranded in Luzon due to movement restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have yet to return to their home provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao, a Malacañang official said Wednesday.

In a televised briefing, Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary and Hatid Tulong program head Joseph Encabo said they are still arranging the transportation of the remaining locally stranded individuals (LSIs).

Encabo said the program has already assisted around 53,000 people, which included tourists, students, local workers and overseas Filipino workers. 

He also said only stranded individuals who tested negative for COVID-19 after rapid antibody tests would be allowed to travel.

“Hindi po natin puwedeng pabayaan ang ang mga LSI sa kalsada kung saan sila natutulog,” Encabo said.

“Hangga’t mayroong krisis at hangga’t mayroong mga LSI na kumakatok para tulungan sila at maihatid, gagawin po natin ‘yan sa mabilis na panahon.”

Last week, the national government suspended trips under the long-term Balik Probinsiya program so that resources could be focused on transporting stranded individuals in Metro Manila to the provinces. — RSJ, GMA News