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PCG tests LSIs at Rizal stadium

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star
PCG tests LSIs at Rizal stadium
In a statement, the PCG yesterday said that as part of the government’s Hatid Tulong Program, it has also assigned 25 of their medical technologists to administer COVID-19 rapid tests on the LSIs, aside from deploying a bus, an escort vehicle and a truck.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has sent 25 medical technologists to attend to thousands of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) staying at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila and waiting to catch a ride back to their home provinces.

In a statement, the PCG yesterday said that as part of the government’s Hatid Tulong Program, it has also assigned 25 of their medical technologists to administer COVID-19 rapid tests on the LSIs, aside from deploying a bus, an escort vehicle and a truck.

Those who are found positive for the novel coronavirus will undergo reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or swab test, along with members of their families waiting at the stadium.

The PCG also said its BRP Gabriela Silang as well as two multi-role response vessels are on stand by to transport the LSIs to the Visayas and Mindanao.

The Coast Guard Intelligence Force is also providing security to those stranded at the stadium.

‘Not well-planned’

Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo yesterday slammed what for her was not a well-planned Hatid Tulong Program of the government after thousands of LSIs were crammed inside the Rizal Memorial Stadium over the weekend without proper social distancing.

“When I saw the pictures last night, I was really dismayed because we (in the government) have really exerted so much effort to promote social distancing,” Robredo said in her weekly program over radio station dzXL.

“We are avoiding the spread of (COVID-19) but we gave a platform to spread it. I really felt very sad that the government itself violates its own regulations,” she added.

Given that the Hatid Tulong Program would run for two days, government officials should have anticipated the huge crowds who would troop to the area, according to the Vice President.

She noted that the government should have assigned areas for people going to different areas so as to avoid overcrowding.

“This (violation of rules) will really happen (if programs) are not well-planned,” she said.

Proper system

Sen. Bong Go renewed his call for government agencies to strictly follow health and safety protocols when assisting LSIs to ensure that they would not be a cause of further spread of COVID-19.

“I’ve been saying before that we must not abandon our countrymen, who want to return to their home provinces. Let’s (not only) help them, but also provide a proper system so that they don’t get sick,” Go said in a statement.

“The people are distressed. The national government must help them instead of letting them stay on sidewalks waiting for their rides,” he added.

LSIs must be provided with food and proper shelter, and prevent them from congregating, according to Go.

The senator stressed concerned agencies must adopt a system that is compliant with health and safety protocols in rolling out the Hatid Tulong Program. – Helen Flores, Paolo Romero, Neil Jayson Servallos

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