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Pandemic leaves 4.1M Filipinos stranded

At least 4.1 million Filipinos of working age have been stranded due to lockdowns imposed to arrest the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Social Weather Stations survey showed Saturday.

Local stranded individuals take shelter at the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, Parañaque City while waiting for buses to bring them home to their provinces. Norman Cruz
The mobile phone survey, which was conducted on May 4-10, showed the number of stranded persons account for 5.4 percent of the projected 75.8 million working-age Filipinos.

The number of respondents who said they were stranded outside of their place of residence was highest in Balance Luzon at 1.8 million, followed by Mindanao at 1.1 million, Visayas at 710,000 and Metro Manila at 490,000.

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More working-age men were stranded than women, and most of them were between 18 to 34 years old.

Sampling error margins were ±2 percent for national percentages, ±6 percent for Metro Manila, ±2 percent for Balance Luzon, ±3 percent for Visayas, and ±3 percent for Mindanao.

Meanwhile, at least 128 stranded passengers waiting for available flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were temporarily transferred to the Philippine Army Wellness Center in Fort Bonifacio.

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“We were given instructions to help our stranded kababayan,” said Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala in a radio interview.

The Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), for its part, said it is closely coordinating with the government to mount additional domestic flights to cater to more air travelers, especially stranded Filipinos.

ACAP is working with the Department of Transportation, the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Manila International Airport Authority and other government agencies to find ways to expedite the mounting of additional flights.

“We understand the need of our guests, especially Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), to fly back to their respective home provinces at the soonest time possible. At the same time, we also understand the concerns of the national government and concerned local government units with regard to the risks surrounding the surge of travelers from Metro Manila,” said ACAP in a statement.

At least 128 stranded individuals were transferred from NAIA to the Philippine Army Wellness Center where they underwent rapid testing for COVID-19.
“In the meantime, we appeal to all our passengers to proceed to the airport only when they have confirmed flights,” the group added.

Air travelers whose flights are cancelled or have a different travel date will not be allowed to enter the NAIA terminal by airport security.

Those who are unable to present boarding documents at the terminal entrance will also not be allowed to enter the airport premises.

MIAA officials urged passengers to check their email address and mobile numbers provided to the airlines upon booking their flights for any changes in their flight schedules.

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A Travel Authority or Travel Pass issued by the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, as well as a medical certificate from the municipal or city health office, are required to travel across provinces or regions.

Other travel documents required by local government units may be applicable. Guests are strongly advised to check with the LGU of their destination for local travel requirements.

The government earlier put in the backburner its Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program (BP2) so that it can focus on transporting stranded individuals in Metro Manila to the provinces.

Topics: Stranded , COVID-19 , Social Weather Stations , Balik Probinsya , Bagong Pag-asa Program , Joint Task Force COVID Shield
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