University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) Cagayan de Oro has opened its doors to temporarily hold returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs).
Returning locals under the Balik Probinsya program had arrived at Macabalan Pier on June 10, 2020. While some of them were picked up by their respective LGUs, others were still waiting for transportation assistance.
With the request from Hon. Rufus B. Rodriguez, Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative, USTP CDO offered to turn the USTP gymnasium, otherwise known as the Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras (DRER) Memorial Hall, into a temporary holding facility for stranded individuals.
The USTP CDO team under the leadership of Engr. Alex Maureal, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, was quick to prepare the gymnasium for the arrival of LSIs and returning OFWs. Entrances to the gymnasium were blocked, sanitation mats and hand-washing stations were placed, and the receiving area was prepared, among others.
The perimeter of the gymnasium was closed off to ensure safety.
Chairs positioned one meter apart in the USTP Gym
Representatives from the Department of Tourism (DOT) Region X, Department of Health (DOH) Region X, and Office of Civil Defense Regional Office (OCDRO) Region X visited the site for final inspections before the arrival of the LSIs. The Philippine National Police (PNP) also deployed officers to the area to maintain security.
Representatives from DOH and DOT joined the USTP Team in inspecting the gym.
OCDRO Director Rosauro Gonzales (in brown) with the USTP Team and DOT.
On Wednesday, June 10, the first batch of around 66 LSIs arrived at the USTP DRER Memorial Hall. More LSIs and returning OFWs continued to arrive and be fetched by their respective LGUs throughout the following days.
First batch of LSIs arrived in the afternoon of June 10
USTP through the Northern Mindanao Food Innovation Center (NMFIC) donated instant food packs to the Balik Probinsya team. The Information and Communication Technology office provided free WiFi so that the LSIs could stay in touch with their loved ones. They also streamed movies on the LED screen to keep them entertained. Other organizations have also stepped up to share the bayanihan spirit. For instance, the Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro donated as many as 200 packed meals.
In his Facebook post, Congressman Rodriguez praised the swift action of USTP saying, “I would like to thank and congratulate the leadership and staff of USTP for this commendable humanitarian gesture. A great help to our returning OFWs, our modern day heroes, and our residents stranded in Metro Manila.”
The University will continue to work alongside the different government agencies in assisting the returning OFWs and LSIs. We assure the public that we are taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the community.