By Jean Fernando
About 326 individuals stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were ordered to be transferred to a safer place by Mayor Emi Calixto Rubiano amid the onslaught of tropical depression “Butchoy” while awaiting their flight home to their provinces.
Rubiano ordered on Thursday, June 11, the immediate transfer of the 326 individuals at the Villamor Airbase Elementary School which the city government considered as a safer place to stay while awaiting for their flight home to their provinces.
Coordination with the Pasay DEPED was also made which has the jurisdiction of the school. She said that half of the stranded workers were already assisted with their flights and were able to go home to their provinces.
The city government is also looking for other temporary shelters for the new batch of stranded persons staying under the NAIA expressway.
Rubiano also called on fellow mayors of other localities to accommodate the return of persons who came from their cities but were stranded at the airport due to unexpected cancellation of their flights. She said that some individuals who do not yet have their airplane tickets but went straight to the airport hoping for a chance to be able to get home.
The mayor said that the stranded individuals were composed of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and those who wanted to go back to their provinces but were not able to do so when the quarantine was imposed and travels were suspended.
The city Public Information Office told that in an interview with Calixto by Noli de Castro over DZMM-Teleradyo, she was quoted: “ I think…since Sunday, nung nag-umpisa iyan (pagdagsa ng mga tao sa bisinidad ng NAIA), talagang nagtutulungan na po ang national at lokal para sa mga nai-stranded.
(I think…since Sunday when the individuals started flocking the vicinity of NAIA. The national and local governments were already helping each other for the stranded individuals.)
Rubiano also told during her interview that they already started the evacuation of the stranded individuals last Thursday night but they went back to the NAIA vicinity.
The mayor said that she already had a meeting with NAIA Manager Ed Monreal and DILG-NCR Director Maria Lourdes Agustin and asked them to made an announcement through radio, television and other means that those who do not yet have their tickets not to go to the airport to avoid the overcrowding at the NAIA vicinity.
Rubiano also said that he would inform earlier the flight cancellation of those who already have their airplane tickets. The mayor revealed that during a dialogue with Agustin, she found out that some local government units and provinces were not yet ready to accept the stranded individuals.
Rubiano said that she already told them to accept the returning stranded individuals since it was already discussed with the National Task Force and before they were able to secure travel pass they already have their medical certificate issued by the place where they came from.
“Yung mga andyan na naman ngayon ay ipapalikas uli natin. Pero naghahanap na kami ng ibang matutuluyan,” Rubiano said. (Those who returned to the area will be evacuated again, and we are now looking for other places where they can stay).