MANILA, Philippines, July 20, 2020 — Locally stranded individuals (LSIs), currently staying at the Philippine Ports Authority, recently received assistance from the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) and TV5 Alagang Kapatid Foundation, Inc. (AKFI) who paid them a visit and advised them on health protocols while distributing snack packs and raincoats.
“We hope to provide some comfort and nourishment to over 200 LSIs patiently waiting at the port area for a ship that could transport them to their respective homes in places such as Basilan, Jolo, Sulu, Cagayan De Oro, Butuan City, Iloilo, Bacolod, and Cebu,” said PSF President Ma. Esther O. Santos.
“Though they are sad and distressed at having to wait for days and weeks in less than ideal conditions, well-meaning people who call on them to see how they’re doing, and the prospect of getting home eventually, lift their spirits,” Santos added.
During their visit, the personnel of PSF and AKFI shared basic information with the LSIs on standard health protocols – like wearing of facial masks, social distancing, and good hygiene – to be observed given the Covid-19 pandemic in our midst. We also listened to their heart-rending stories, said AKFI Executive Director Menchie Silvestre.
LSIs include local workers, students, and other individuals stranded in Manila and nearby areas – most of them enduring the devastating economic effects of the quarantine restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic – who have expressed their intention to go back to their original residence.
“There was a couple who got fired from their jobs and were evicted from their rented room in Laguna. They had no other recourse but to avail of the government’s Balik-Probinsya program, buying two tickets home with the little money they had. There was also a working student who almost choked in tears, thinking of the uncertainty of her situation.” Silvestre explained.
Under the government’s Hatid Tulong program, LSIs will be brought back to their home provinces after coordinating with the relevant local government units and LSI’s having completed health requirements.
AKFI is the social development arm of TV5. A non-stock and non-profit organization established in 2011, it is committed to promote and support humanitarian causes.
Meanwhile, PSF is a non-profit organization that fully serves as the social outreach arm of PLDT, Inc. and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. Headed by PLDT and Smart Chairman Manuel V Pangilinan, the PSF created programs focused on education, livelihood and social enterprise, disaster response and recovery, youth arts, and sports development.
PSF and AKFI’s visit to the LSIs is the first of their various outreach activities slated to mark the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Week this month.