COTABATO CITY: The province of North Cotabato currently leads in the implementation of the government’s “Hatid Tulong” program for locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) in Region 12 (Soccsksargen).
North Cotabato Governor Nancy Catamco on Saturday directed the province’s inter-agency sub-task force “Sagip Stranded Cotabateños Team” to continue making the necessary arrangements for the return of stranded residents under required health protocols to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Catamco issued the directive to the local “Sagip Task Force” after the “Covid-Kaya Philippine National Epidemiological Surveillance Team” recognized North Cotabato as the leading implementer of the “Hatid Tulong” program in the region.
“Our LSIs and ROF(s) are most welcome in the province, that is why we have this program,” Catamco said in the directive.
“Let us make them feel that, although they need to undergo health protocols.”
As of Saturday, North Cotabato has facilitated the return or rescue of 4,959 LSIs and 293 ROFs to the province.
With more than 5,000 “stranded” Cotabateños registered under the “Sagip program”, Catamco said the province would not stop until all those who need help shall have been served.
The province had five confirmed Covid-19-positive residents from other areas but they are now out of isolation after having recovered from the virus.
Speaking for the provincial government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on Covid 19, Board Member Philbert Malaluan said the task force is looking for more Cotabateños who are currently stranded in Manila and other parts of the country.
Trailing North Cotabato in the regional “Hatid Tulong” implementation are General Santos City, which facilitated the return of 349 LSIs and ROFs; South Cotabato (214); Sultan Kudarat (94); Sarangani (21), and Cotabato City (7).
(PNA/ Edwin Fernandez/ SRNY/ RSP)