Recto hits sudden change in transport protocols for LSIs
MANILA, Philippines — The protocols for transporting home locally stranded individuals (LSIs) should not be changed “as often as the sea tide,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Monday as he slammed the sudden changes in maritime travel protocols which forced some LSIs to sleep outside the Manila North Harbor.
“Sending them home by boat was no Dunkirk-like evacuation, and yet it failed,” Recto said in a statement.
“The huddled, hungry, drenched stranded travelers painstakingly complied with all the health and police requirements, only to be denied boarding because of a new requirement. Their dreams of going home capsized on land,” he added.
A number of LSIs were reportedly forced to sleep outside the Manila North Harbor for days while waiting for a trip back to their home provinces after they were required to also submit their swab test results before they will be allowed to board the ships. The stranded passengers were initially told to only secure a travel pass and a negative rapid test result.
Recto said the North Harbor fiasco is “a wake-up call as loud as a ship horn blast to those responsible for the sea travel of residents who are medically-cleared to return to their homes.”
The government had suspended the transit of LSIs in at least five places in the Visayas and Mindanao to address concerns of local officials about the spread of COVID-19 in their provinces.
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