Hatid Tulong sending 8,400 stranded individuals to home provinces from July 25 to 26

The Department of the Interior and Local Government said Friday, July 24, that 8,408 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) that are currently cramped in public facilities will start coming home to their provinces this weekend, July 25 to 26.

The Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Adriatico, Manila has been packed with thousands of stranded individuals, unable to practice physical distancing due to the volume of people inside the stadium.

They previously stayed at the Philippine Army Gymnasium, Villamor Air Base Elementary School, Manila Science High School, and outside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Before going home, they would undergo a rapid antibody test. Those who test negative will be allowed to return to their home provinces.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Friday they would tap 120 buses, 5 government ships, and the trains of the Philippine National Railways.

Meanwhile, stranded individuals whose hometowns were not yet accepting residents to come home would be transferred to a housing facility in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

In an advisory on Thursday, July 23, the DILG left the task of providing swab testing to LSIs to the receiving local governments.

A number of provinces and cities reported either their first cases or a spike in the number of cases attributed to returnees under the botched Balik Probinsya program.

The Hatid Tulong Program was implemented after, with the first batch of returnees brought home on the first week of July. – Aika Rey/Rappler.com