Duterte orders Año to gather stranded individuals, gov’t to pay for lodging and food

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) - President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to gather all locally stranded individuals (LSI), especially those camping near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), saying that the government will pay for their food and accommodation.

“I would like to remind si General Año to gather all na naghihintay ng walang matulugan, matirhan, at nandiyan sa labas ng NAIA (everyone waiting, nowhere to sleep and to stay in, and staying outside NAIA), you will be transported to a place. I will pay, just bill me, pati pagkain (including the food),” said Duterte in a late address early Wednesday.

Thousands of LSIs have been camping near NAIA in hopes of getting flights amid the limited air travel due to the pandemic. The Manila International Airport Authority has already reminded the public not to proceed to the airport unless there is a confirmed flight.

Duterte also told Año to keep a tight budget on the food of the LSIs.

“Maghanap lang ng mga karinderya baka budget magreklamo. Wag kayong magkain ng mahal (Just look for small eateries out there because some might complain on the budget. Don’t eat anything fancy). We are in a crisis, let us keep our senses close to the ground,” he said.

Moreover, Duterte also asked the Department of Transportation to remove nearby restaurants and replace them with more seats citing the situation of stranded individuals.

“Art [Secretary Arthur Tugade], lagyan mo ng silya lahat 'yan (Place chairs right there). Yung restaurant diyan, kung ma-terminate mo yung contracts (The restaurant there, if you can terminate the contracts), terminate them. Because I need them to sit the passengers waiting,” he said.

Duterte requested policemen assigned at NAIA to assist the LSIs in the meantime.