MANILA, Philippines – After sending off more than a hundred travelers who were finally able to catch flights out of the metropolis, more stranded travelers poured into the Philippine Army gymnasium at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, on Friday, June 19, needing a place to stay.
It had been a week since the Army picked up some 128 people from under a bridge along the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway (NAIAX), after reports of their forlorn situation went viral days earlier.
Soldiers set up dividers and placed rows of beddings at the Philippine Army Wellness Center (PAWC) to accommodate the stranded travelers. Medical staff from the Army General Hospital administered rapid tests for the coronavirus. The Army provided them meals, too.
The Army coordinated with other agencies as well as the Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific to book flights. Throughout the week, batches of travelers staying at the gym were able to continue their journey to their provinces.
On Friday, the Army brought 102 travelers to the airport for their confirmed flights. Some 52 others also caught flights days earlier.
Meanwhile, canceled flights to Mindanao forced some other travelers to seek shelter at Fort Bonifacio on Friday. Besides accommodating travelers in the PAWC, the Army also made room at its hospital and parts of nearby Libingan ng mga Bayani for temporary shelters.
Among the stranded travelers were 6 pregnant women and two persons who were “showing signs of stress.” They were brought to the Army General Hospital for medical attention.
The Army says it has sheltered and assisted 408 stranded travelers since June 13. – Rappler.com