The 771 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in the Villamor Air Base Elementary School (VABES) and Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilSCA) in Pasay have been provided transport and are now in transit to their homes.
Braving uncertainties and danger brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, said LSIs were staying at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and nearby areas to find any means of transport to get home.
National government agencies led by DILG-NCR, Department of Education-NCR (DepEd-NCR), Department of Social Welfare and Development-NCR (DSWD-NCR), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), AFP-Leadership Development Center (AFP-LDC), Joint Task Force-NCR (AFP JTF-NCR), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), PNP NCR Police Office (NCRPO), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Health Metro Manila Center For Health Development (DOH MMCHD), Office of Civil Defense-NCR (OCD-NCR), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Barangay 183, and the City Government of Pasay concerted their efforts to ensure the health and safety of the stranded individuals.
Since June 7, the said agencies have deployed teams for profiling of the LSIs and provision of their basic needs. Financial and psychosocial support was extended as well.
Transport arrangements were also made in coordination with airline companies for the rebooking of canceled flights. Representatives from airline companies were invited to VABES and PhilSCA for a dialogue with those who have booked a flight, and to extend assistance that they can provide to the LSIs.
For those who have no reservations or tickets, the AFP through the Navy and the Air Force transported the LSIs, using available vessels and aircraft, prioritizing those with special needs.
Support from various sectors also poured in for the LSIs; groups and individuals sent over hot meals, grocery packs, hygiene kits, medicines, sleeping mats and blankets, as well as face masks and shields.
DILG-NCR Regional Director Maria Lourdes Agustin expressed her gratitude to the overwhelming support provided by the different sectors and individuals for the LSIs.
“We are thankful to all the groups and individuals who went the extra mile to provide help for the LSIs until they got home. We have witnessed that the Bayanihan spirit is alive and will help us become stronger as we weather this pandemic,” she noted.
DILG regional offices will be checking on the status of the LSIs once they arrive in their provinces to ensure that the LSIs reach their homes safely.