Hatid Tulong initiative brings back 138 locally stranded individuals

In partnership with the National Government’s Hatid Tulong Initiative, the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur has successfully brought home 138 locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from the National Capital Region and Region IV-A via the Philippine National Railways train. The first batch of LSIs was transported back to the province on June 20, 2020, while the second batch travelled back to CamSur on June 25, 2020.

The Hatid Tulong Initiative is a transportation assistance program that aims to help LSIs go back to their home provinces. Under this initiative, the National Government shoulders the transportation expenses of the LSIs, along with cash assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, groceries, and food for their entire trip.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Government helps ensure that minimum health protocols are being followed, such as the decontamination of the LSIs baggage and temperature check of the passengers prior to hailing the train. The Provincial Government also takes care of all the arrangements for the LSIs upon their arrival, such as the conduct of medical check-up and rapid diagnostic test, and distribution of sleeping and hygiene kits and vitamins good for their entire quarantine period. All passengers tested negative in their rapid diagnostic proceeded to stay in their assigned quarantine site for 14 days, while those who tested positive were immediately isolated at the Camarines Sur COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Facility in Banasi, Bula. These passengers underwent Nasopharyngeal swab test as confirmatory test of COVID-19.

“Napundo po si trabaho mi, duwang bulan halos may kabanga. Nag resume po ang trabaho sarong semana man lang ta nag-lockdown na naman,” shared Eduardo Pacao, a resident of San Jose who has been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown. Many share the same story as Eduardo. Most of the LSIs who were transported back lost their livelihood and source of income due to the pandemic.

That is why upon arriving at the Libmanan and Iriga PNR Stations, the LSIs could not hide their relief that they are finally back home.

“Malaking tulong po ito sa amin dahil nung time Manila kami, hirap sa pagkain sa pang-araw araw dahil wala naman po kaming pinagkakakitaan,”said Jolan Soron of Baao, one of the first beneficiaries of the Hatid Tulong Initiative.“Maraming salamat po,” he added.