By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that the government has assisted the return of 34,571 of the 45,565 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Metro Manila back to their hometowns.
In his Thursday presser, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that there were no LSI left in the Villamor Airbase and Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PHILSCA) where they were temporarily housed while waiting for their ride home.
The Palace official added that the remaining LSIs were transferred to the Villamor Golf Club for testing for COVID-19 before they are sent home on Thursday and Friday.
Data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) showed that as of June 17, a total of 539 LSIs received P2,000 worth of cash assistance each from the department, amounting to P1,078,000.
The DSWD has likewise provided P1.6 million worth of sleeping kits and sanitation kits to 963 LSIs.
Last week, Roque said the unfortunate death of Michelle Silvertino prompted the government to establish new policies to assist locally-stranded persons particularly those near airports and bus stations.
Silvertino died after waiting for five days for a bus ride to Camarines Sur. She was found unconscious at an EDSA footbridge in Pasay City on June 5 and died while being rushed to the hospital.
Roque likewise assured the public that the government is not ignoring their plight.
“Huwag po kayong mag-alala, hindi po tayo bulag sa paghihirap ng ating mga kababayan at ayaw na ayaw po ni Presidente ‘yan kaya aksyon agad. (Do not worry, we are not blind to the sufferings of our fellow Filipinos and the President does not want that so expect immediate action),” he said.
He likewise asked other stranded persons in Metro Manila to immediately contact the DSWD at 8734-8635 for assistance.