KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 17 June) – The head of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) in North Cotabato has disclosed that a number of locally stranded individuals that they rescued since they created the Task Force Sagip Stranded Cotabatenos have attempted to commit suicide.
Dr. Philbert Malaluan, 2nd District board member who also heads the IATF, said that they learned of these individuals’ suicidal tendencies during their exchanges of messages through Facebook Messenger or through use of mobile phones.
Malaluan said most of these individuals are residents who applied for jobs abroad but were prevented from leaving the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some were already bankrupt. They have no more money,” he said.
Malaluan added that continued fights with their partners over mobile phones have led to broken families.
The task force, the board member said, is taking the issue seriously.
“A staff is at least giving each LSI an hour just to listen to their woes, problems, and their issues, just to ensure that they will not commit suicide,” Malaluan explained.
One of the pressing issues that a returning overseas Filipino worker face, he noted, is survival.
“They have no job here. They have loans and have no means to pay the amortization,” Malaluan said.
To help the returning OFWs and LSIs, the provincial government will provide them livelihood assistance. Funds will be coming from the provincial government and from the representatives of the three legislative districts in North Cotabato, according to Malaluan.
On Tuesday, 132 more LSIs from Cebu and Iloilo tested negative for COVID-19 after reaching North Cotabato on Tuesday.
Malaluan said that these individuals boarded two sweeper flights, 116 aboard Air Asia and the rest, Cebu Pacific.
They arrived at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on Tuesday night and were transported by 22 passenger vans to the Cotabato provincial government capitol complex in Barangay Amas for decontamination.
Malaluan said the LSIs, after taking their dinner on Tuesday, underwent rapid testing, to which everybody tested negative.
Another batch of LSIs will be rescued by the provincial government on Wednesday.
To date, the provincial government has already rescued 2,600 LSIs and returning OFWs under its Task Force Sagip Stranded Cotabatenos. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)