Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go today vowed to continue to provide support to individuals who remain stranded in the Metro Manila area because of limited transportation and strict quarantine measures imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Nais ko ipaalala sa lahat na hindi natin pwedeng ipagkait ang karapatan ng mga Pilipino na makauwi sa sarili nilang bayan. Gawin lang po ito sa ligtas at tamang paraan. Sundin palagi ang health and safety protocols, at siguraduhin na maprotektahan ang mga komunidad na kanilang uuwian ,’’ he said. (I want to remind everybody that we cannot deprive our fellow Filipinos of their rights to go home to their own country. Just do it the safe way and correct way. Always follow the health and safety protocols, and ensure that the communities they’re returning to are protected.)
The office of Go extended additional aid to around 1,000 Albay-bound locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who were given clearance to travel home under strict health and safety protocols.
The senator’s staff brought test kits for screening the LSIs who also received free meals and food packs from the team. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided cash assistance after Go’s office reached out to the agency.
The applicants who tested negative of COVID-19 were granted travel authority and brought home by the Albay provincial government via bus on July 10 and 11.
Go’s team also delivered free meals and food packs to 25 LSIs bound for Bohol. The DSWD, likewise, extended various forms of aid. The group was transported by ship on July 11 by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, reminded concerned agencies and the beneficiaries of the Hatid Tulong initiatives to strictly follow protocols even as they pass the screening tests and undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine at the final destinations.
He previously urged concerned national agencies to provide an efficient system of air, sea and land travel options to avoid overcrowding and prevent any unwanted exposure in airports, seaports and terminals the
spread of the disease.
In the previous months, Go repeatedly raised concerns about the growing number of LSIs and returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who were rendered homeless and jobless due to the adverse effects of the pandemic.
“Sa ating mga kababayang Pilipino na uuwi ng Pilipinas, may mga nilatag na health and safety protocols ang ating gobyerno upang protektahan po kayo at ang inyong mga pamilya. Sundin natin ito para masiguro nating magiging ligtas din ang mga mahal ninyo sa buhay sa inyong pag-uwi,’’ he stressed. (To our fellow Filipinos, our government laid down health and safety protocols in order to protect you and your families. Let’s follow them to ensure that your loved ones are safe with your homecoming.)
In mid-June, the government temporarily suspended the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa (BP2) program in order to prioritize the Hatid Tulong initiatives.
The Hatid Tulong Program is a joint initiative of the Office of the President, COVID-19 National Task Force, Department of Transportation and various other agencies. The office of Sen. Bong Go had actively participated in the initiative that was launched in response to a directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to help locally stranded individuals, OFWs and other affected Filipinos who need to go home to their families in the provinces.