Encabo: Gov’t To Assist 9K More LSIs Under ‘Hatid Tulong’ Program

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The government will send-off some 9,000 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) to their respective provinces on Saturday and Sunday under the Hatid Tulong program, Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo said Thursday.

Encabo, lead convenor of the Hatid Tulong program, said the government will assist LSIs who were affected by the lockdowns imposed amid the coronavirus outbreak to return to Mindanao on July 25, while the LSIs from the Visayas will be assisted on July 26.

He said the program is implemented in compliance with the health protocols and guidelines to protect the beneficiaries from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“All LSIs will undergo medical protocols supervised by the Department of Health (DOH) and they will undergo rapid testing for coronavirus,” Encabo said in Filipino during a virtual press briefing.

Encabo said there is proper coordination between the national government and the local government units (LGUs) to ensure the security and safety of the provinces free from the risks of Covid-19.

The LSIs will also undergo swab testing in their respective provinces, he said.

“The LGUs are also preparing their quarantine facilities and medical protocols,” he added.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will secure the travel authorities for the LSIs, Encabo said, in order to properly supervise their movements.

According to the latest data, Encabo said the government has already assisted around 126,000 LSIs under the implementation of the Hatid Tulong program.

“We have 9,000 confirmed LSIs to go home by July 25 and 26,” he said, reiterating that the Hatid Tulong program is a whole-of-government approach assisting LSIs by providing them transportation going back to their provinces.

Encabo said the government still expects to assist some 8,000 to 10,000 LSIs after the implementation of the send-off on July 25 and 26.

“We are now studying how to improve the implementation of the program by considering a cluster [type] of send-off… We will approach this by region (so) that we can enhance our government transportation assets,” he said.

Encabo encouraged the LSIs to follow all the set instructions for them by the program secretariat, to avoid unnecessary actions. (PNA)