More than a quarter of a million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), stranded in Metro Manila due to the pandemic, have been aided by the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program in returning to their home provinces.
In a Facebook post on Friday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said a total of 257,492 OFWs have been assisted by the program led by the Office of the President (OP) and the National Task Force for Covid-19 (NTF-Covid), noting that the figure includes locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and authorized persons outside of residence (APOR).
“In response to the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to send our OFWs back to their provinces, the DOTr joins the NTF-Covid, and concerned government agencies, in establishing the Hatid Tulong Program, to assist and transport our stranded OFWs in Metro Manila back to their respective provinces,” the DOTr said.
Of the total, it said, 79,050 were transported by land from the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange from May 25 to October 15.
Over the same time frame, a total of 126,468 OFWs were brought home by air travel from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
From the Manila North Harbor, 51,974 OFWs bound for their home provinces have been assisted by the program from April 27 to October 15, the department said.
Aside from the OP, NTF-Covid, and DOTr, the joint initiative program was also made possible with the help of the departments of labor, interior, social welfare, and tourism, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority, Office for Transportation Security, Manila International Airport Authority, Land Transportation Office, and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. (PNA)