In a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the provinces, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced the two-week suspension of the transport assistance for locally stranded individuals (LSI).
The suspension began on Sunday as requested by the local government units (LGUs) in Region VI (Western Visayas) and VIII (Eastern Visayas). The defense secretary also advised the LSIs to stay where they are for now until arrangements for them to return home are finalized.
“We have to go this because the LSIs are the ones bringing the virus to the provinces. The data from Bacolod and Iloilo City bear this out. The LGUs asked for the suspension. We will have to come up with a better procedure to prevent this from happening,” Lorenzana continued.
“They should not go to the airport or seaport. We have to get the LGUs to agree to receive them. Their problem is that their quarantine facilities are limited and they don’t want to be overwhelmed,” he added.
Earlier this month, the Social Weather Stations said around 4.1 million working-age Filipinos are stranded due to community quarantines. Of that number, there were around 13,000 LSIs in Luzon alone waiting for transport to take them to the Visayas and Mindanao, as noted by Presidential Management Staff Assistant Secretary Joseph Encabo.