Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go on Tuesday urged the Executive branch to conduct a thorough review of the implementation of Hatid Tulong initiatives, which intends to help Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), OFWs, and other affected Filipinos who wish to return to their provinces.
Since Hatid Tulong is a directive from the President, Go said it is important to make sure that proper health and safety protocols are in place to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
“Proper coordination must also be conducted to make sure that receiving LGUs are willing and ready to accept their constituents,” he said.
“I am also urging the IATF to look into unauthorized travels and unsanctioned initiatives reportedly conducted by various LGUs and groups that do not comply with health protocols,” he added.
The senator said he welcomes calls from various experts and stakeholders to review any program of the government, including the Balik Probinsya Program and Hatid Tulong initiative.
“After all, our collective goal is to make the whole government more responsive to the rapidly changing concerns brought by the global health crisis,” he said.
“Sa Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program naman, suspended pa po ang implementasyon nito. BP2 Executive Director and NHA GM Marcelino Escalada Jr. recently said that they decided to reschedule the subsequent rollouts of BP2 in order to give way to the implementation of Hatid Tulong initiatives,” said Go.
He also called executive agencies mandated to implement the BP2 program to use this time to conduct a thorough review taking into consideration the health and safety measures that should be implemented.
“This will also give more time for receiving LGUs to prepare their communities for the return of BP2 beneficiaries. We have enough time to polish, study and review the necessary guidelines and seek wisdom from other LGUs prior to implementing the BP2 program,” said Go.
Sen. Sonny Angara said the Balik Probinsiya is a good program that government should encourage with some of cities.
“We need to encourage private investment and government should also pour in crucial infrastructure which will spur investment and growth. Isama na lang yung balak bumalik sa probinsiya sa mga dadaan sa testing para limitado ang infections,” he said.
For his part, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said proper health protocols and quarantine requirements were not followed in the movement of these individuals, otherwise, “I see no problem with this program.”
However, right now, he said it is not a cause for concern since the implementation of said program is suspended for the meantime to give way for the repatriation of OFWs and the return of locally stranded individuals to their home places as ordered by the President./Stacy Ang