PH Army shelters, assists stranded persons from NAIAX

JC Gotinga
PH Army shelters, assists stranded persons from NAIAX
Over 200 stranded travelers are given shelter at the Army Gymnasium in Taguig City, and assistance in catching flights to their home provinces

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army (PA) has provided temporary shelter and assistance to more than 200 people whose flights out of Manila had been canceled, and who were staying under a bridge along the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAX) in Pasay City last week.

Following reports of hundreds of passengers stranded near the airport, the Army on Saturday, June 13, picked up an initial 128 people from along NAIAX and brought them to the Philippine Army Wellness Center at the PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The stranded travelers had been sleeping on cardboard mats exposed to the elements as they waited for help, and a ride out of the metropolis to their provinces. (READ: How to help locally stranded Filipinos near NAIA who want to go home)

At their temporary accommodations at the Army gymnasium, the travelers were given rapid tests for the coronavirus and other medical assistance by staff from the Army General Hospital.

The Army Support Command provided meals, while the Department of Social Welfare and Development gave other basic necessities, the Army said in a media statement.

The Army took in more stranded travelers, and by Monday, June 15, had sheltered a total of 214 people, and assisted 22 of them to catch flights to their provinces.

Cebu Pacific Air will be flying 129 of the stranded travelers to Davao City, General Santos City, Cotabato City, Cagayan de Oro, and Bacolod City, the Army said.

ARMY CHIEF. Army commanding general Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay checks on the conditions of stranded passengers staying at the Army Gymnasium on June 15, 2020. Photo from the Philippine Army

On Monday, Army chief Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay visited the travelers at the gymnasium, “to check on their well-being.”

“While we continue to provide shelter and basic necessities for them here at the Army Gymnasium, those who would want to extend further aid are highly encouraged. We will also help in terms of coordinating with their respective airlines. Our main priority is to keep them COVID-19 free so they can return to their families healthy,” Gapay said.

Travel restrictions accompanying community quarantine measures across the country have left many Filipinos stranded, including returning overseas workers. – Rappler.com

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.