COVID-19

No choice but to go back home

KD Madrilejos
No choice but to go back home

Joseph Elapro (Right) and his wife Beverly (Left) holds their children while sleeping and waiting for their scheduled ride outside the North Port Terminal in Manila on JUly 22, 2020. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Locally stranded individuals try again to return to their provinces - but obstacles persist

Holding his ticket that’s been cancelled 3 times already, Joseph Elopre, a tricycle driver in Taguig City, along with his wife Beverly and their 3 children tried their luck again on Wednesday, July 22, outside the Manila NorthPort Passenger Terminal in Manila. They want to finally catch a boat to their home in Zamboanguita, Dumaguete.

Joseph and Beverly carried their two children Gwen, 2, and Tricia May, 4, on their laps while their eldest Rhea Rose, 13, slept outside the terminal port. They have been here with other passengers early as 4 am even if their boat is scheduled to leave at 4 pm yet.

Uuwi nalang po kami ng Dumaguete, sir kasi baka mag lockdown wala na talaga kaming pera. Wala na akong natanggap na [assistance] sa barangay eh,” said Joseph.

LSI at Manila NorthPort
RARING FOR HOME. More than a hundred commuters queue outside the NorthPort Passenger Terminal in Tondo waiting for a 2GO ferry bound for Zamboanga, Dumaguete, and Iloilo City on July 22, 2020.
Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Joseph drives a tricycle in Upper Bicutan in Taguig and rents a small place where his wife takes care of their kids. For 4 months since the start of the lockdown, Joseph said he has received only P6,000 in government aid.

“Paano naming pagkakasyahin yun, sir? Paano ang pambayad namin sa bahay? At pang-aral nitong panganay ko?” he said. Rhea Rose will now have to continue her schooling in Dumaguete.

Beverly said they also have a problem with the requirement of providing a negative swab test result before travel. They could not afford the test, but they want to take their chances just the same.

Nagbakasakali na kami sir. Kasi gusto na naming talagang umuwi. Pero yung sa swab test, pangkain nga wala na kami, pang swab test pa,’” Beverly added. She said they even had to borrow money for their tickets. A single swab test for COVID-19 costs at least P4,000 to as high as P12,000.

LSI at Manila NorthPort
CANCELLATIONS. Locally stranded individuals hoping to go return to their provinces have been waiting for days following the rescheduling of their trips.
Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Will the Elopre family finally make it?

According Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, local governments have come up with a way to send to the provinces locally stranded individuals (LSIs) with the help of the Department of Transportation.

Travelers bound for the Visayas and Mindanao are required to submit their travel authority and health clearance, according to task force official Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. – Rappler.com