Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso slammed the organizers of the Hatid Tulong program after thousands of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) were left stuck and cramped in the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
“They have to rethink whatever they’re doing,” he told reporters on Wednesday (July 29). “The one that we saw at Rizal (stadium) is unacceptable. That is negligence on the part of whoever organized it.
Domagoso, who ordered members of the city government to conduct cleaning and flushing operations in the sports complex, said there weren’t even any trash bins in the area.
Around 30 tons of garbage were hauled from the area as of Tuesday afternoon.
The Manila mayor also said that he does not want to waste time “pointing fingers” at anyone and urged the Hatid Tulong organizers to “bounce back” from what happened.
“We don’t want to blame anybody, we don’t want to point fingers to anybody. Just do our job and be efficient about it,” he said. “The principle is noble. The idea is good. They have to bounce back.”
“There is no perfect solution on this, but we have to act. Pag nadadapa, bumabangon agad dapat (When you fall, you should get back up quickly). Time is always of the essence,” he added.
Domagoso also appealed to the public to not blame the LSIs for flocking to the stadium amid restrictions on mass gatherings in light of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
He said they probably did not know that they would be part of a large crowd that would be cramped in the stadium.
The local chief executive vowed to help, both the organizers and the LSIs, in any way they can that is within their capacity and authority.
Around 8,000 individuals swarmed to the sports complex to avail of the national government’s Hatid Tulong program from July 25 to 26 so they can go home to their provinces.
However, the government failed to transport all the LSIs during the given time period because of the high number of people who availed of the service.
The Department of Interior and Local Government said around 2,000 individuals are still stranded at the stadium as of Tuesday, but they are eyeing to send them all home by Thursday.