Robredo should offer solutions, rather than just criticize – Palace

Published June 17, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

Vice President Leni Robredo should offer solutions instead of just dishing out criticisms on the movement of stranded individuals to their hometowns, according to a Palace official.

Harry Roque (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Harry Roque (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I just wish the Vice President could actually offer solutions,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said over ANC television Wednesday.

Robredo has reportedly criticized the alleged poorly coordinated efforts in bringing home individuals stranded in Metro Manila amid the coronavirus lockdown. She has called on the government to organize its efforts to prevent a repeat of the death of Michelle Silvertino, who died after waiting for five days at a Pasay footbridge for her bus ride back to Bicol.

Roque defended the government’s program to assist locally stranded individuals (LSIs) amid criticisms about alleged poor coordination and complaints about the spread of the viral illness.

He said these individuals undergo coronavirus testing before they are allowed to take their flight or bus ride home. Local government units are also encouraged to conduct another test once these people arrive in their areas of jurisdiction.

“The problem really is the nature of the disease. If you are tested now, you could test negative, in a few days later, you could test positive. So what we are doing now is in addition to the testing being done in Metro Manila, which is PCR before being sent to the provinces, we have developed also the capability of the local government units outside of Manila to conduct their own PCR test, and that is why the local government upon receiving them, subject them to another test,” he said.

If a returning resident is still found positive upon arrival in the hometown, Roque said the person will be placed in an isolation facility to get the appropriate medical treatment. “It’s the nature of the disease, we can’t do anything about it,” he said.

To persons stranded in the capital, Roque urged them to contact the Department of Social Welfare and Development or the concerned local government unit. “We have also asked also the local government units through the DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to extend assistance. And if they cannot, at least just to refer them to the DSWD,” he said.

13,000 locally stranded individuals

The government intends to help around 13,000 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in their trip back to their hometowns, according to Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo.

Encabo said the government will extend transportation, food, and financial support to these persons reeling from a “crisis situation” under the “Hatid Tulong” program. Those who test positive in the rapid test kit will be placed on 14-day quarantine and undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing before being allowed to leave, he added.

“Sa ngayon po base sa listahan ng Presidential Management Staff, mayroon po tayong mahigit na 13,000 nasa listahan po na LSIs. Ito po ay nandito po sa Luzon at sila po ay gustong umuwi sa kanilang probinsya sa Visayas at saka sa Mindanao (Based on the current list of the Presidential Management Staff, we have more than 13,000 LSIs in the list. They are in Luzon and they want to go home in their provinces in Visayas and Mindanao),” he said during a public briefing on state television.

He said the passengers stranded near the airport have been given temporary shelter at the Villamor Air Base Elementary School, the Philippine State College of Aeronautics, and the Philippine Army headquarters.

He said they are gradually being assisted in their return flights with the help of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He said a C-130 military plane has been dispatched to transport the stranded individuals to their home provinces.

 
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