COVID-19

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

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

Thousands of locally stranded individuals availing of the free ride back to their respective provinces are gathered at the baseball stadium of the Rizal Sports Complex in Manila on Friday, July 24. They will be transported to the Quirino Grandstand for the Hatid Tulong Program of the national government after undergoing rapid tests in the morning of Saturday, July 25, where buses will send them back to various provinces. Around 10,000 locally stranded individuals, 7,000 for prelisted and 3,000 for additional walk-ins, are expected to take advantage of the 2nd batch of the Hatid Tulong program of the national government to return to the province after being locked down in metro manila due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Deployed police roam the area to remind the LSIs to maintain proper physical distancing as they set up temporary sleeping areas on the bleachers of the stadium. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

Ben Nabong/Rappler

Locally stranded individuals who won't be able to return home will be transferred to a housing facility in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan

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.

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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.

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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