Hatid Tulong chief eyes travel ban exception for LSIs


Posted at Aug 04 2020 10:26 AM

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The leader of a government program to bring home to their provinces locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Metro Manila is seeking to have them exempted from a travel ban during the region’s return to stricter lockdown measures. 

Metro Manila returned Tuesday under MECQ or modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest lockdown level that bans non-essential travel and public transport. 

“Humihingi po kami ng exemption sa IATF para mapabilis iyong pagproseso sa kanila at makikipag-ugnayan din kami sa mga respective LGUs,” said Hatid Tulong lead convener Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo.

(We are asking for exemption from the inter-agency task force to fast-track the processing of LSIs and we will also coordinate with the respective local governments of the provinces where they are headed.) 

“Kung mai-grant po iyong exemption, agad-agad gagawan po namin ng schedule at ipa-facilitate natin iyong transportation na gagamitin sa kanila,” he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo. 

(If the exemption is granted, we will immediately give them a schedule and facilitate the transportation they will use.) 

The Hatid Tulong program last week drew flak after rains forced authorities to cram nearly 8,000 LSIs into a stadium in Manila, where they were supposed to process documents before their trips to the province. 

Some LSIs have yet to go home and were transferred to a facility of the National Housing Authority because their provinces had temporarily stopped accepting returning residents to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Around 20 other LSIs on Monday went to the stadium on Monday and had to be accommodated at a police station or by the social welfare department, said Encabo. 

Authorities are still disinfecting the vehicles used by the previous batch of LSIs brought home to their provinces. Drivers and other personnel involved in the program are still on quarantine to make sure they did not catch the virus, he said. 

“Sa mga kababayan kong LSIs, sana habaan n’yo iyong pasensya n’yo at pang-unawa dahil unang-una, limitado po ang mga transportation asset ng ating government,” Encabo said. 

“Ginagawa po namin lahat ng makakaya at sa mabilis na panahon kayo ay maiuwi sa inyong probinsya,” he added. 

(To our LSIs, I hope you could have more patients and understanding because the transportation assets of our government are limited. We are doing everything we can to bring you home to your province at the soonest.)
TeleRadyo, August 4, 2020