THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released P39.813 million worth of assistance that benefited 15,605 locally stranded individuals (LSIs), Undersecretary Rene Glen Paje said.
The LSIs, particularly those who stayed at holding centers while waiting for their trips to their provinces, were provided hygiene kits and sleeping kits while those who were able to go home were provided P2,000 in financial aid and P3,000 cash aid if they had children.
The DSWD had been coordinating with the Hatid Tulong technical working group in sending back to the provinces the LSIs or those who had been stranded in Metro Manila due to the lockdowns, suspension of public transportation and work stoppage in the past months due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Presidential Management Staff assistant secretary and concurrent Hatid Tulong convenor Joseph Encabo said they are preparing for the resumption of the Hatid Tulong initiative either on August 19 or 20 or immediately after the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila is lifted.
Encabo said they are hoping to complete the send off all LSIs in two months.
“We are seeing a gradual reduction of LSIs in Manila. This will be manageable and we’re looking at the last two months of this program, the Hatid Tulong initiative,” he said.
Encabo said the LSIs will be sent off by batches per provinces depending on the number of people that the receiving local government units (LGUs) can accommodate at a time.
He said for instance, Biliran said it can receive up to 50 LSIs at this time while Sulu said it can receive up to 100 LSIs.
Encabo said among the trips being readied by the PMS-HT TWG are bound for Biliran, Samar, Leyte, Romblon, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Palawan, Bohol, and Cebu.
He said the HT secretariat is also finalizing plans to send LSIs back to Cagayan, Batanes, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte.