228 stranded passengers staying under NAIA flyover taken to Pasay school

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 12) – More than 200 passengers stranded around the Ninoy Aquino International Airport who have taken shelter in waiting areas and under a flyover have been transferred to a public school in Pasay City as they wait for their ride to the provinces, the Department of Transportation said.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Eymard Eje said Friday that 228 Filipinos stranded in Metro Manila hoping to catch flights home have been taken to the Villamor Air Base Elementary School, following reports some passengers were forced to stay by the sidewalk or even sleep below the NAIA Expressway.

"Ayaw po nating matulad uli o maulit yung sitwasyon sa tawiran ho pala doon sa Pasay. Alam natin ang kinalalagyan ng ating mga kababayan at kasama po kami sa gobyernong ito na nakikiisa sa kalagayan nila ngayon," he told CNN Philippines' The Source.

[Translation: We do not want a repeat of the situation that happened at the Pasay footbridge. We know the situation of our fellowmen and the government recognizes their current struggles.]

READ: Balik Probinsya program temporarily suspended to prioritize locally stranded individuals

The DOTr ordered airlines to coordinate with the passengers as to when they can board a flight. He said what got these individuals milling around the main gateway was the constant rebooking of their flight tickets, which confused them as to when they could finally head home.

A flight to General Santos City was supposed to leave Friday noon, Eje added.

The death of Michelle Silvertino last week as she waited for a bus to take her home to Bicol, exposed the sorry state of locally-stranded Filipinos who have spent days around NAIA, hanging on to hope that airlines will finally accommodate them.

Silvertino, a 33-year-old single mother, walked from Cubao to Pasay, where she stayed in a footbridge for five days, hoping to get a ride to Calabanga town in Camarines Sur to be reunited with her four young children.

On Friday morning, photos showed that a new group of travelers hoping to enter NAIA again occupied the stop underneath NAIAX. The DOTr said they were dropped off by manpower agencies.

Travel to and from Metro Manila remains banned, except for those rendering essential work or are Filipinos returning to their hometowns for good.

Once flights are coordinated, Eje said a medical team from the Philippine Air Force will conduct rapid COVID-19 tests before they are allowed to head to the airport again for boarding. Coast Guard buses will ferry them back to NAIA once they secure a medical certificate, he added.