MANILA - The government’s Hatid Tulong program will set by next week the next wave of send-offs for individuals seeking to go home to their home provinces but have been stranded in Metro Manila during the COVID-19 lockdown, an official said Saturday.
This, as over 400 stranded individuals who have been staying outside the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City while awaiting trips home were brought back to their transient homes in Metro Manila.
“Tutukuyin din namin ang mga rehiyon at mga probinsya kung saan ang mga LSI (locally stranded individuals) ay aming pauuwiin para naman mapaayos namin ang pag send-off sa kanila dahil ito na po ay sa napag-ayunan ng mga LGUs at technical working group kung ano 'yung petsa sila tatangap ng kanilang kababayan,” said program’s lead convenor, Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo.
(We will identify the regions and provinces where we will bring home LSIs to ensure an orderly send-off because the LGUs and the technical working group will agree on a date when they are ready to accept them.)
Encabo said between 2,400 and 2,500 have registered for the program and are awaiting trips home.
In an interview on ABS-CBN's Teleradyo, Encabo appealed to stranded individuals to coordinate first with the local government unit of their hometowns instead of going to send-off areas and waiting it out on the road.
“Ang panibagong proseso namin para ma-validate ang isang LSI ay 'yung LSI mismo ang kokontak sa LGU nila kung saan sila uuwi sa pamamagitan ng kanilang kamag-anak o kaibigan o barangay officials na 'yung pangalan nila, numero at complete address ay isusumite sa receiving LGUs whether provincial o city,” he said.
(Our new process to validate an LSI is that the LSIs will contact their LGUs through relatives, friends, or barangay officials and will submit their names, phone numbers, and complete address.)
This, he said, is to prevent people from converging in some areas, setting up tents and disregarding physical distancing protocol while waiting for help to come.
He said the LGUs would give them the consolidated and validated list of their respective stranded residents.
“Kami na rin po ang tatawag sa mga LSI na nandito na sa Kamaynilaan kapag na-set na ang kanilang pag-uwi para 'di nagdadagsaan, 'di nagpupuntahan sa mga lugar na hindi naman dapat pupuntahan,” he said.
(We will be the ones to contact LSIs here in Metro Manila when we're able to set the next schedule of send-off to prevent them from crowding or proceeding to areas where they are not even supposed to go to.)
On Friday, Encabo said around 440 stranded individuals temporarily staying outside the Libingan ng mga Bayani were sent back to the places in Metro Manila where they previously lived, with the help of police.
“Ang Libingan ng mga Bayani, hindi po siya ang tanggapan ng Hatid Tulong initiative. Nataon lang na ito ay naging send-off area noong nakaraang buwan at ang mind set po ng ating LSI doon sila pupunta para matulungan,” he said.
(The Libingan ng mga Bayani is not the place where the Hatid Tulong Initiative accepts LSIs. It just so happened that it became one of the send-off areas in the past months and the mindset of our LSI is to go there to be able to get help.)
He lamented that previously assisted stranded individuals were the ones who encouraged the others to go to the area.
Among those they have assisted where applying for overseas employment. Encabo said they brought them back to their agencies where they will temporarily stay until their departure to their hometowns.
But Hatid Tulong made sure to get all the stranded individuals’ contact information and start consolidating the details to determine where they are headed as the program plans the next scheduled send-off.
“Sana po antayin n’yo 'yung tamang abiso at instructions at kailan po ang proper sendoff. Nasa amin naman po mga impormasyon ninyo,” he said.
(Please wait for the advise and instructions on the next proper send-off. We have all your information anyway.)