The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vowed on Tuesday, July 7, to continuously coordinate with other government agencies to provide assistance to locally stranded individuals (LSIs) under the government’s Hatid Tulong Program.
The DSWD said it is committed to provide financial assistance to the LSIs through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program.
“DSWD will continue its coordination with concerned agencies to ensure the provision of assistance to LSIs,” the department said in a statement.
Among the DSWD’s partner agencies in implementing Hatid Tulong Program are the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Hatid Tulong is the government’s assistance initiative that seeks to transport back those who were stranded in Metro Manila during the coronavirus lockdown in March to their respective provinces.
“More than 2,000 LSIs comprised of students, workers, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), and local tourists availed themselves of the free transportation assistance,” the DSWD said.
Last weekend, the Department, together with its partner-agencies, held a two-day Hatid Tulong Grand Send-Off activity at the Quirino Grandstand.
“The first day of the send-off catered to LSIs returning to Mindanao, while the second day assisted stranded locals traveling back to the Visayas and Northern Luzon,” the DSWD said.
It said to avoid further spread of the COVID infection, health and safety protocols were strictly put in place.
It said LSIs have to undergo the DOH’s rapid testing before the DILG gives them a travel authorization.
“The LSIs are also required to undergo a second screening and a mandatory 14-day quarantine in their respective hometowns to ensure that they are free from COVID-19,” the DSWD said.
The Department said apart from the financial aid, hot meals or Family Food Packs (FFPs) will be given to the returnees once they reach their provinces.
The DSWD had reported that it provided over P2.19 million worth of assistance to LSIs.
It said its Field Offices have enough resources to assist the local government units (LGUs) to respond to the needs of the LSIs.