DOTr says NAIA tents for stranded individuals donated by Lopez companies after drawing flak

July 10, 2020 - 7:42 PM
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Tents from the Lopez Group of Companies via the Department of Transportation on Facebook (Department of Transportation/Released)

The Department of Transportation corrected its earlier post about accommodations for locally stranded individuals or LSIs at the airport after some Filipinos called the agency out for allegedly not crediting the donors.

The LSIs include thousands of repatriated overseas Filipino workers and other Filipinos who were stuck in the nation’s capital since the enhanced community quarantine period.

In a statement on Facebook on Thursday, the DOTr shared that 28 innovative tents were set up to accommodate LSIs waiting for their flights to the provinces at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The tents were said to be located at the social hall of NAIA Terminal 3.

COMFORT FOR LSIs28 tents have already been assembled at the social hall of the NAIA Terminal 3 in an effort to provide…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

 

The agency claimed that this initiative was part of “the overall plan” of the Manila International Airport Authority which is under DOTr’s auspices.

“This forms part of the overall plan of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), under the guidance of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), to put up 100 tents for the LSIs, with the additional tents expected to be established soon,” its statement read.

“Apart from the tents, MIAA also provided a dedicated shower area at the airport’s parking lot, for the exclusive use of LSIs,” it added.

However, under the post, some Facebook users pointed out that the tents were donated by the Lopez Group of Companies which deserved to be credited for it.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

This donation was also previously picked up and reported by mainstream news organizations on social media.

Based on a report, the Lopez Group of Companies’ First Gen Corporation provided these tents with mattresses and beddings to the MIAA last Thursday afternoon.

LOOK: The Lopez Group of Companies' First Gen Corp. turned over 100 tents with mattresses and beddings as well as two…

Posted by Philippine Star on Thursday, July 9, 2020

 

Later that night, DOTr’s Facebook page made a clarification on its earlier post and attributed the Lopez conglomerate for the “effort.”

“Further to our earlier publication of the initiative of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to provide additional comfort facilities and tents for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) at Terminal 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the MIAA would like to acknowledge the effort and contribution of the Lopez Group of Companies (LGC) in this endeavor,” the new statement read.

Further to our earlier publication of the initiative of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to provide…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Thursday, July 9, 2020

 

The agency also explained that it was initially an agreement between the LGC and MIAA but the former eventually went ahead and put up the tents and amenities, which was not mentioned in its previous post.

The DOTr then extended its gratitude to the “generosity and assistance” of LGC to the government and the stranded Filipinos.

“This gesture of support by LGC is also another testament to its cooperative and collaborative partnership with the DOTr, as manifested in various outreach programs conducted by the two institutions. Maraming salamat po, LGC,” it said.

The struggles of LSIs in the Philippines

The national government previously suspended its two programs which were supposed to help transport LSIs to the provinces, namely, the “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-Asa” and “Hatid Tulong.”

These initiatives were largely blamed for the rise of novel coronavirus cases in the provinces, particularly in far-flung regions.

Lawmakers and some local government officials from far-flung provinces also aired similar concerns via social media posts and a joint statement that most of the new cases in their jurisdictions were stranded individuals from Metro Manila.

READ: Homecoming of stranded Filipinos halted in some areas as more returnees test positive for COVID-19

Photos of LSIs who have waited for days and weeks in ports and transport terminals without proper social distancing rules and accommodations drew backlash from social media.

Critics slammed the perceived lack of coordination among government agencies which were supposedly assigned to assist them.

RELATED: Private sector, citizens step up anew: Donations pour in for stranded passengers near NAIA