MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), through the Hatid Tulong initiative of the Philippine government, has facilitated the sea transportation for locally stranded individuals (LSIs) back to their respective hometowns.

As of 08 July 2020, exactly 2,507 individuals stranded in Metro Manila amid the COVID-19 pandemic were ferried back to their provinces through the facilitation and arrangement of MARINA for their passenger ship and RORO vessels.

MARINA has arranged the transportation of 959 LSIs to Cagayan de Oro via 2GO vessel MV St. John Paul. These stranded individuals are bound for Zamboanga region but due to non-availability of vessel going to the said region, the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) gave the green light to transport them only up to Cagayan de Oro from where they will be fetched by their respective local government units (LGUs).

MARINA also facilitated the transport of 1504 LSIs, who were bound for Regions 10, 11, and 12. RORO vessels were transported from Sorsogon to Northern Samar, and Southern Leyte to Surigao Del Norte. LSIs have been disembarked at any of the drop-off points namely Cagayan de Oro, Tacurong, and Davao.

Thirty-one (31) LSIs on their way to Oriental Mindoro, Occidental Mindoro, and Romblon were also assisted by MARINA through the facilitation of transport through a RORO vessels coming from Batangas bound for Calapan, Abra De Ilog, and Romblon.

MARINA also assisted 13 LSIs bound for Marinduque through the facilitation of transport via RORO vessel coming from Lucena.

With these initiatives, the MARINA assures the public that the agency is still on their helping hands to provide assistance for the stranded individuals while ensuring that the preventive measures are in place before, during, and after the voyage to avoid local transmission of the disease.

“The Administrator expresses his heartfelt appreciation to the following shipping companies and shipowners/operators for their full support to this endeavor: Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp., GT Express Shipping Corp., Montenegro Shipping Lines, Inc., Navios Shipping Lines, Peñafrancia Shipping Corporation, Starhorse Shipping Lines Inc., Sta. Clara Shipping Lines Inc., 2GO Group Inc., and Starlite Ferries, Inc. He said the government recognized the role of shipping companies in the success of the Hatid Tulong initiative. “If not for the involvement of shipping companies, many people would still be stranded in various parts of the country.