DILG Secretary Eduardo Año. (File photo)

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday said it is looking at the possibility of setting up separate venues for locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who will be sent home based on their region.

In a radio interview, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this is to avoid cramming and congestion of LSIs in one place.

"'Yung mga susunod na ganitong programa, dapat iba-iba 'yung venue ng bawat regions para hindi magsisiksikan. Kung limang regions ang pupuntahan, limang sites ang ipe-prepare natin para hindi magkukumpol-kumpol (For the next programs like these, there should be different venues for different regions so there won't be congestion. If we have five destination regions, we will prepare five sites so they won't flock together)," Año said.

He made this announcement after Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila where the government conducted its "Hatid Tulong" program over the weekend was packed with LSIs, which went viral on social media and drew flak from netizens.

He added that this proposal will be implemented in the next round of the "Hatid Tulong".

An estimated 2,000 LSIs are still at the Rizal Memorial Stadium waiting for trips back to their home provinces.

Año said the national government is eyeing to finish transporting these individuals by Thursday.

He added that over 4,000 LSIs staying at the stadium were already transported to various provinces.

The LSIs will have to undergo rapid testing for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) before they are allowed to board buses for their home provinces.

Last week, Año reminded local government units (LGUs) with departing and returning LSIs to support the Hatid Tulong program.

He also directed all LGUs to coordinate with their respective Regional Task Forces and their sub-task units, prior to the sending or receiving of LSIs.

Receiving LGUs must also allow passage to transported LSIs arriving in their area of jurisdiction, provided that they possess a medical clearance certification and travel authority. Villaseñor said that the receiving LGUs are given the liberty to conduct polymerase chain reaction test in accordance with local health protocols.

Año also directed the LGUs to prepare for the arrival of the LSIs such as transportation, reception team, isolation and quarantine facilities, provision of basic, medical, and sanitary needs of the LSIs while on quarantine, if needed. (PNA)