Marc Gil Calang, civil defense officer I from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Caraga, said that they are providing the needed logistical support and personal protective equipment for the frontliners from various concerned government agencies who facilitate and manage the homecoming of the Caraganon locally stranded individuals (LSIs) under the Hatid Tulong Program. They also prepared food for the working personnel who are involved in this operation.

According to DOTr-Caraga regional director Ma. Kristina Cassion, the DOTr enforcers will continue to assist the Locally Stranded Individuals and monitor their compliance with the imposed health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. "So far, the first batch of LSIs under the Hatid Tulong Program arrived safely here in Butuan and the LGUs are also ready and prepared to accept them and provide them the necessary interventions," she added.

Michael Angelo Tero, designated desk officer for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Caraga bared that the Hatid Tulong Program is spearheaded by the Presidential Management Staff (PMS), in close coordination with LTFRB, DILG, DSWD, OCD, and DOH, among others. He also called on the LGUs to receive their respective LSIs properly and orderly and ensure they all undergo the required health protocols including the 14-day quarantine.

As part of the line agencies manning the one-stop shop erected in Butuan City Sports Complex for the LSIs/ROFs bound for Caraga arriving today (July 27), the DSWD Caraga will also provide financial assistance to individuals who qualify to avail the COVID-19 assistance programs of the government.

The funds for the cash assistance will be transferred to their respective LGUs for distribution.

Some locally stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipinos were forced to finance their travel back to their hometowns in Caraga just so they could be with their family during the pandemic.

Some of these individuals voiced their concerns on the Hatid Probinsya initiatives, particularly on the observance of physical distancing.

Jericho Cadion, a student who travelled all the way from Quezon City to return to his hometown in Loreto, Agusan del Sur, was particularly alarmed by the failure to implement such protocol.

He urged authorities to be more mindful of this during the rollout of the succeeding batches of returing individuals.

Another batch of LSIs and ROFs are scheduled to go back to Caraga on Wednesday, July 29.

Team from PIA Caraga wearing their complete PPE before covering today's arrival of the 1st batch of the locally stranded individuals from Luzon via CdO. The Libertad Sports Complex in Butuan City is the drop-off point of the Caraganon LSIs before returning to their respective provinces in the region.


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