10,000 stranded individuals already sent home, DSWD says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development has reported that more than 10,000 locally stranded individuals have already been sent back to their provinces since the first week of July.

During the House of Representatives Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability hearing on Thursday, DSWD Assistant Secretary Rodolfo Encabo said 10,361 LSIs were already sent home since the start of the send-off program “Hatid Tulong.”

Broken down, 1,673 were sent home to areas in Mindanao on July 4; 569 were back to areas in Luzon on July 5; 1,268 were sent home to provinces in Caraga on July 25; 1,417 were sent home to various regions in Luzon on July 26; 676 were back home in Eastern and Western Visayas, except Bohol, on July 27; 687 were sent back to Caraga on July 28; and 991 were sent back to Zamboanga on July 28.

The DSWD added that 4,071 others were sent back to their provinces, but did not specify the date.

The department added that all qualified LSIs were given a ₱2,000 cash assistance, while those with children were given additional ₱1,000 each.

Aside from cash, food and non-food assistance like sleeping kits and sanitary kits were also given to them.

As for LSIs staying at the Philippine Army gymnasium and at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, DSWD said it has assisted 87 individuals including their children who are Zamboanga-bound on Wednesday.

Some who are still in the area are being given assistance while waiting for trips back to their provinces.

On the other hand, Labor Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez said the department was able to send more than 6,000 LSIs to their provinces. The 2,000 plus Caraga-bound LSIs left in the Rizal stadium were also already assisted, he said.

The implementation of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila to control the spread of COVID-19 left thousands of Filipinos locked in the capital, without a source of income nor a place to stay.

The government is currently ramping up efforts to bring these residents back home to also prevent transmission of the virus among them.

The Department of Interior and Local Government, the lead agency handling issues related to LSIs, said last week that 8,408 residents will be brought home to their provinces through the program, which is more than the initial 4,000-target.