KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, June 2 (PIA) - The Provincial Government of South Cotabato has chartered two airplanes that brought home 331 locally stranded individuals (LSI) from Metro Manila and neighboring areas and Cebu.
Governor Reynaldo Tamayo Jr. said the provincial LGU fast-tracked the return of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in time with the repatriation of returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
A Cebu Pacific flight from NAIA flew in 229 LSIs from Metro Manila and neighboring provinces to General Santos International Airport on Saturday.
Another flight chartered by the provincial LGU arrived at Gensan Airport on Sunday. On board were 102 LSIs from Cebu City. Of this number, 36 were from General Santos City and other nearby areas according to information from the South Cotabato Arts, Culture, and Sports (ACTS) Promotion Unit.
South Cotabato is the first LGU in SOCCSKSARGEN Region that chartered flights for its LSIs.
Both flights were separate from the sweeper flights arranged by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) for the ROFs.
For the two chartered flights, the provincial government paid the airline company P2.6 million. A still undetermined number of passengers paid P4,500 as fare.
"We encouraged the passengers, especially those who can afford to, if possible, to P4,500 to help the government. Some of them have paid. Funds collected were deposited with the treasury," Gov. Tamayo said.
He added that the massive operations to bring home South Cotabatenos stuck outside the province will continue until June 5.
Coordination for chartering a 2GO vessel is underway for LSIs in Iloilo City and neighboring areas.
The provincial government is looking for means to bring home LSIs currently stuck in other parts of SOCCSKSARGEN Region and other places in Mindanao.
"We need to maximize time so that while the ROFs are being sent home we also bring home our locally stranded individuals," Tamayo said. This, he added, will synchronizes decisions, quarantine and monitoring of the new arrivals.
Upon arrival, LSIs and ROFs are endorsed to their respective local government units for mandatory 14-day quarantine either at home or in LGU-designated facility.
"It is better that they are here where we can take care of them," Gov. Tamayo said. (DED-PIA XII)