The San Juan city government on Thursday assisted a locally stranded person with disability (PWD) return to his hometown in San Pablo, Laguna.
A recent post about a 26-year-old hearing-impaired individual went viral on social media for being determined to learn mathematics and language despite his condition.
The homeless man, identified as Rhesty Bemida, was seen studying numbers, shapes, and letters.
He left his hometown and was not able to return since the travel restrictions were imposed during the community quarantine.
Bemida couldn’t remember the address of his family residence.
According to the San Juan city government, news reporter Bernadette Reyes immediately contacted the local government after airing Bemida’s story in their primetime news and current affairs show, 24 Oras.
Mayor Francis Zamora, meanwhile, immediately ordered and tasked the City Social Welfare Development (CSWD) and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) to locate Bemida and offer him the assistance he needed.
“We have a standing order with our CDRRMO, CHO [City Health Office], and CSWDO to help out LSIs in San Juan,” Zamora said.
“Kahit na hindi sila taga-San Juan ay Pilipino pa rin po sila. Bilang kapwa Pilipino, tungkulin po natin ang tumulong sa ating kapwa (Even if they’re not residents of San Juan, they’re still Filipinos. And as fellow countrymen, it’s our mandate to help them),” he added.
It took the city two days to locate Bemida.
According to the city government, Bemida was found seeking shelter outside the Christian Gospel Church at F. Blumentritt Street.
He was immediately brought to the city’s Bahay Pag-Asa for health assessment and rapid test for Covid-19.
Bemida was provided with clothes, allowed to shower and freshen up, and properly fed, the city government said.
The city government also provided Bemida with cash assistance and sponsored his trip to his province.
Zamora thanked Reyes for coordinating Bemida’s story to the city government.
Zamora said the news show has linked Bemida to his family who has been looking for him for months.
“Nakita ko kung gaano karami na netizens ang nag-try na ishare ang kanyang storya (I saw how many netizens shared his inspiring story),” he said, noting that he really admires Bemida’s determination to learn things such as writing and reading.
The San Juan CDRRMO facilitated his health clearance after he tested negative for Covid-19.
They also assisted him in acquiring travel authority and other pertinent documents.
Zamora personally sent him off from Bahay Pag-Asa and handed him some PHP10,000 cash aid as a birthday gift. Bermida turned 26 on Sept. 19.
“Bagamat hindi siya nakakapagsalita at nakakarinig, nakakatuwa sapagkat sa kabila ng hinaharap niya sa buhay ay nakikita ko ang kanyang tibay ng loob at kita ko yung kanyang disposisyon, hanga ako sa kanya (Although he can’t speak and hear, I’m glad that despite the challenges, I can see his courage and his disposition, I admire him),” Zamora said.
Bemida expressed his gratitude to Zamora through writing and sign language.
The city government has been assisting locally stranded individuals (LSIs) bound to their respective hometowns.
To date, the city has facilitated the travel of more than 100 LSIs who returned to the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Camarines, Masbate, Samar, Leyte, and Lanao del Sur.
Zamora said the city government is strictly adhering to the protocols in assisting LSIs going back to their provinces. (PNA)