Gov’t suspends issuance of travel authority to locally stranded individuals

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines — The national government on Thursday (June 25) suspended the issuance of travel authority to locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in the National Capital Region (NCR) who wish to return to their respective localities. 

Malacañang said the order allows LSis a chance to take a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test to determine if they are carriers of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

“Sa mga locally stranded individuals po, para magkakaroon po muna tayo ng moratorium hanggang kayo po ay nabigyan na ng RT-PCR [test] bago kayo umuwi ng inyong mga probinsya (To the locally stranded individuals, we will have a moratorium until you have taken the RT-PCR test before returning to your hometowns),” explained Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

Such procedure is part of the new protocol for LSIs, according to the National Task Force against COVID-19 Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon. 

“Ito po ay para protektahan sila at ma-ensure na sila ay COVID-19-free (This is to protect them and to ensure that they are COVID-19-free), he said.

“At the same time, kailangan ding protektahan natin ang mga communities at mga probinsya at LGU na patutunguhan nila. So kailangan pong gawin iyan sa mga susunod na araw (At the same time, we have to ensure that the communities, the provinces, the LGUs they heading to will be protected as well. So we need to carry that out in the coming days),” he added.

Based on a report by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, there are still around 40,000 LSIs in Metro Manila waiting for a chance to return home.

Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar said the suspension of travel authority to LSIs will run for up to two weeks based on the recommendation of local chief executives in Region VIII.

Reports said that the reason for the spike in COVID-19 cases in Eastern Visayas is because of the returning LSIs. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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