Thousands still stranded in Rizal Memorial, gov't eyes trips home by Thurs


Posted at Jul 28 2020 08:51 AM | Updated as of Jul 28 2020 09:57 AM

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MANILA -- Some 2,000 people who sought the government’s transportation assistance are still stranded at a baseball stadium in Manila, the interior department said Tuesday, adding that it aimed to send the group to their provinces this week.

Around 3,600 people, many of whom lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, registered to get free bus and ferry rides to their provinces.

However, almost 8,000 people flocked last week to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, where beneficiaries of the Hatid Tulong transportation program were supposed to fix their documents and get tested for the coronavirus before their trip, said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

Tents had not yet been set up at the stadium when rains forced authorities to cram the travelers inside the stadium, officials earlier said.

The government had sent home 4,793 people from the stadium as of Monday, while 284 others were brought to a housing site in Bulacan as they wait for their respective provinces to lift their moratorium on the entry of returning residents.

Some 2,000 people left at the stadium are waiting for trips to Zamboanga, Butuan, Davao provinces, said Año.

“Ihahatid natin ito hanggang Huwebes ang pinaka-target natin,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

To avoid a repeat of the stranded individuals cramming into tight spaces, the government will separate travelers by the region where they are headed. Each region will have its own jump-off point, said the official.

“Kung 5 region ang pupuntahan, 5 sites ang ipi-prepare natin para hindi magkumpol-kumpol,” he said.

(If there are 5 regional destinations, we will prepare 5 sites so travelers will not be packed.)