By Chito Chavez
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Saturday, June 13, warned that camping under the skyway at the vicinity of the airport area in Pasay City is strictly prohibited.
He issued the statement after hundreds of locally stranded individuals (LSI) with no confirmed flights or purchased fake plane tickets online have stayed and spent several days as they await their flights back to their hometowns.
Año said that several checkpoints located in strategic points of the airport area were placed to drive out those wanting to take their chance of flying out of Metro Manila. Finding it repetitious, Año said that initially 258 LSI were transported by the government to their respective provinces when they started to make the skyway as their camp site. The trend continued after news reached the other LSI of other stranded individuals being flown out of the metropolis.
Año declared the situation would be far less difficult if the LSI are transported only in the Luzon provinces where buses can ferry them to their hometowns. But he explained that it is different when passengers have to be brought to Visyas and Mindanao where air flights are necessary to cross the waters.
The first 258 LSI were ferried through the military C-130 planes but these are not always available since they are used to go around the country to deliver medicines, personal protective equipment (PPE) or utilized for emergency cases. The 461 LSI camping under the skyway near NAIA 3 have been transferred to the Villamor Air Base Elementary School and Philippine Air Transport and Training Services (PATTS). At present, Año 351 LSI are staying at the Villamor Elementary School while 110 are housed in PATTS.
To avert chaotic situations, Año appealed to the public to wait for the scheduled regular flights and to never proceed to the airport without any flight confirmation. He noted that it will be just a waste of time to even attempt to get near the airport vicinity since the personnel manning the checkpoints will not allow passengers to alight near this area. Año praised Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano for her kindness providing food for the LSI.