Different origins. Different destinations. Different tribes. Different lives. Different stories to tell. One goal. One province.
These are the 157 locally stranded individuals (LSIs), all North Cotabateños, all had only one goal – to come home to their families, when they boarded the Air Asia Flight No. Z28613 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport around 11AM on Monday June 15, 2020.
Said LSIs from Metro Manila include students pursuing their education in different universities and colleges at the national capital region, Cotabateños who hoped for a brighter future abroad but were not able to fly due to the Covid-19 lockdown, and workers or employees who lost their job because of the pandemic.
In less than two hours, all of them with their big smiles and happy faces alighted the aircraft at Davao International Airport. They were welcomed by Sagip team led by Dr. Philbert Malaluan, as Head of Mission. The team were also teary-eyed watching them coming out one by one.
Aside from the exclusive flight, the provincial government also provided lunch and dinner, and transportation from Davao City to the Provincial Capitol Amas, Kidapawan City in a convoy with the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Decontamination and Rapid Test
To ensure safety and prevent spread of the virus, all LSIs and Operation Sundo team have undergone the strict and mandatory decontamination procedure conducted by the Bureau of Fire Protection upon their arrival at the Provincial Capitol.
Rapid testing procedure were also conducted to the LSIs before they were finally turned over to their respective LGUs for the implementation of their 14-day quarantine.
“Sagip” North Cotabateños program
With her deep commitment to relieve these stranded Cotabateños from further stress and trauma as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, Governor Nancy A. Catamco has set a firm direction with the help of the Task Force Sagip Stranded North Cotabateños to bring home kababayans who have been stranded due to the lockdown, even those who are in Luzon and Visayas, the soonest possible time.
Community quarantine which was implemented nationwide resulted to the lockdown of borders in various localities and cancelled any form of travel whether by land, sea, or air due to the threat of Corona virus or Covid-19 which already killed almost half a million all over the world.
Led by Dr. Philbert Malaluan, Committee Chair On Health and Inter-Agency Task Force Covid Incident Commander, the Sagip Team facilitated the gathering of information, evaluated and assessed information given, prepared the neccesary documents, and coordinated with line agencies and other authorities.
Task Force Sagip is composed of data gathering team, Cluster In-Charge for the different groups identified as tourists, OFWs, and laid-off workers, and students; secretariat, “Operation Sundo” team, incident management team, municipal health officers, municipal / city disaster risk reduction management officers and among other task force members, who have had been working 24/7 assisting those stranded kababayans.
The provincial government also partnered with LGUs, congressional districts in the province, DepEd, PNP, AFP, OWWA, DOLE, and other line agencies acknowledging their invaluable contribution to the success of the “sagip” program.
2,055 total repatriated and counting
Since it was launched on May 4, 2020 with its first batch of “sagip” beneficiaries who finally set foot on the province, Task Force Sagip Stranded were able to facilitate the coming home of now a total of 2,055 stranded individuals including Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) who came home from different parts of the world and Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) from all over the country.
With proper coordination to the LGUs, both LSIs and ROFs were fetched in Davao City, General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro City and even as far as Zamboangga City via land travel.
Today, some 120 LSIs from Visayas particularly Iloilo and Cebu and tomorrow May 17, 2020 with 170 LSIs from Luzon are coming home to the province with new hopes and aspirations as they come back to their respective hometowns also via Air Asia special sweeper flight exclusive for all Cotabateños.//lqg.idcd-pgo// Photos: PGO-Media Team