Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday again scored the government, this time over the locally stranded passengers who crammed inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.
Speaking on her radio show, Robredo said she was saddened by the fact that her fellow government officials themselves are violating the quarantine regulations.
“Noong nakita ko iyong mga pictures noong isang gabi pa, talagang nanlumo ako na grabe. Iyong ine-exert natin na effort sa social distancing, pero tayo mismo iyong violators. (When I saw the pictures the other night, it’s very devastating. We exert effort on social distancing, but we ourselves are the violators),” she said.
The LSIs have drawn public attention again after their photos at the crowded Rizal stadium went viral. They have waited for their trips back to their home provinces during the weekend.
While most of them were wearing face masks, they were not keeping a safe distance from each other as shown in the pictures.
Over 8,000 stranded individuals are set to be transported by the government on July 25 and 26 after being stuck in Metro Manila due to the pandemic lockdown.
The vice president called out officials who are handling the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program as she pointed out they should have planned and organized the mass transport of LSIs well.
“Siyempre, dapat inexpect na nila na maraming dadagsa kasi nag-announce sila. Hindi kasalanan ng tao. Hindi kasalanan ng tao kasi maraming desperate makauwi. (Of course, they should have expected more people because they announced it. It’s not the fault of the people because many of them are desperate to go home),” she said.
Hatid Tulong program head Joseph Encabo appealed for public understanding over the packed sports stadium, but Robredo said she found no excuse for endangering the lives of the LSIs.
“Ito, okay lang iyong understanding kapag hindi sakit iyong kalaban natin… Ang iniiwasan nga natin iyong hawaan, tapos nagbigay ka ng isang platform para maghawa-hawa iyong mga tao. (It is okay to ask for understanding if disease is not our enemy. We are preventing transmission, then you gave a platform for people to get infected),” she said.
In a Facebook post, she gave her suggestions on how to address the current problem on the transport of LSIs.
Robredo said the stranded individuals should undergo swab testing instead of rapid testing before they are sent back home to avoid COVID-19 infections in provinces.
Her other suggestions include having scheduled bus trips by province or region, and conduct of tests in housing facilities for LSIs, among others.