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Stranded persons’ unregulated trips blamed for COVID-19 surge in provinces

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 01:19 PM July 06, 2020
Stranded Boholanos in Cebu City

Some Boholanos stranded in Cebu visited the provincial Capitol of Cebu seeking for help in this file photo.

MANILA, Philippines — Unregulated and illegal trips to the provinces of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) are triggering a spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in some areas, the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program head said on Monday.

During a televised briefing, Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encobo said the LSIs who go on unsupervised and unregulated trips to their home provinces do not undergo COVID-19 testing.

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“Ako po’y nakipagusap na kay [Interior] Secretary [Eduardo] Año. Aking pinahayag ang frustration ng Hatid Tulong technical working group kasi po mayroon mga colorum, mga unsupervised and unmonitored movement ng LSIs,” Encabo said.

(I talked to Secretary Año. I aired the frustration of the Hatid Tulong technical working group because there are colorum, unsupervised and unmonitored movement of LSIs.)

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“Dapat po matigil na po yan kasi naniniwala po ako na ang mga colorum activities ang isa sa mga main na rason o dahilan kung bakit tumataas po ang COVID cases sa isang lugar,” he added.

(This should stop because we believe that such activities are among the main reasons behind the rise in  COVID-19 cases in some areas.)

Encabo said they have received a report of two vans carrying LSIs with expired travel authorities.

“Meron po kaming nakuhang report na merong dalawang vans na papasok sa Samar na mga LSI and only to find out, nagkaroon sila ng rapid test pero matagal tagal na at paso na rin yung kanilang travel authority,” he said.

(We received a report that two vans entered to Samar carrying LSIs who underwent rapid tests some time ago and their travel authorities already lapsed.)

“Kaya ang LGUs, nagkakaroon ng misconception na kapag may mga transport ng LSIs, yung COVID cases agad ang nakikita nila na posibleng mag-increase,” he added.

(That’s why some LGUs have the misconception that when LSIs are being transported, COVID cases are seen to increase.)

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Encabo said the Hatid Tulong program has so far assisted 4,000 LSIs, while around 13,000 are still awaiting assistance.

Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Managing of Emerging Infectious Diseases suspended the entry of LSIs in Western Visayas, Cebu, Eastern Visayas and Caraga region.

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TAGS: COVID-19 cases, Hatid Tulong, Local Government Units, locally stranded individuals
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