SEN. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the government to ensure the safety of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who are stuck in Metro Manila and other urban centers.

LONG WAIT Locally stranded individuals (LSIs) wait outside the North Port Terminal in Manila on July 22, 2020 for a schedule of ships that will be leaving. A prevailing travel ban in parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, however, has prevented LSIs from leaving the port despite having tickets. PHOTO BY MIKE ALQUINTO

“Tulungan natin ang ating mga kababayan na naghahanap ng paraang makauwi pero bigyan natin sila ng maayos na sistema para hindi sila nakaabang lang sa mga transportation terminals. Alagaan rin natin sila, bigyan ng pagkain, maayos na masisilungan, at huwag hayaang magkumpol-kumpol para rin maiwasan ang lalong pagkalat ng sakit (Let’s help those who are finding ways to go home, and ensure that they’re provided with a better system that will not require them to wait in transportation terminals. Let’s protect them, provide them food and accommodation and prevent them from clustering),” he said on Wednesday.

Go added that local government units should also be ready to accept returning residents and to coordinate with the national government to avoid unsanctioned travels that do not meet the minimum health and safety protocols.

Go detailed the safe return of several LSIs back to their provinces, some of whom his office helped.

“Mas maigi pang dumaan sa proseso tulad ng ginawa ng mga nakaraang linggo, may send off noong July 3 at 4 papuntang Mindanao. Mahigit 3,000 (It is better if  they undergo a process just like what we did last week. There was a send off on July 3 and  4 for the more 3,000 who went to Mindanao),” he said.

Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Chavit Singson provided buses to bring LSIs to their provinces.

Another batch is tentatively scheduled to leave the capital on July 25 to 26.

The Hatid Tulong Program is a joint initiative of the Office of the President, National Task Force Covid-19, Department of Transportation and other agencies.