MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte was saddened by the death of a woman who died while trying to get a bus ride to Bicol amid the implementation of the nationwide community quarantine, Malacañang said on Friday.

In an interview with Unang Hirit, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte wants to prevent such an incident from happening again amid the country’s battle against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Roque made the remark after stranded worker Michelle Silvertino, a single mother of four children, died on a footbridge in Pasay City on June 5.

“Tunay na nahahabag ang ating Presidente diyan sa sinapit nitong si Michelle. Sinabi nga niya na wala talaga dapat na Pilipino na mamamatay sa ganiyang pamamaraan na nais lang umuwi pero wala talagang masakyang bus (The President truly feels sorry for what happened to Michelle. He said no Filipino should die that way. She only wanted to go home but there was no bus),” he said.

Silvertino, who worked as a housemaid in Antipolo, Rizal, reportedly stayed on a footbridge along Edsa in Pasay City for five days after walking from Cubao, Quezon City in the hope of catching a bus ride back to her family in Calabanga, Camarines Sur.

She was found unconscious by a concerned citizen on June 5 and was rushed to the Pasay General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) have already been directed to assist locally stranded individuals (LSIs) amid the limited operations of public transport due to the Covid-19 health crisis.

He said there was a plan to provide temporary accommodation for LSIs.

“Isa sa plano ng DOTr at DSWD ay magkaroon ng temporary housing para doon sa mga stranded (One of the plans of DOTr and DSWD is to grant temporary housing for those who are stranded),” Roque said.

The DOTr has been tasked to send LSIs to the Villamor Golf Course in Pasay City for rapid testing while waiting for their bus ride or flight home.

The DSWD, on the other hand, has been directed to give food and temporary accommodation to LSIs.

LSIs seeking government assistance may contact the DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit at 8734-8635.

The Hatid Tulong program was earlier launched by the government to assist LSIs stranded in Metro Manila due to travel restrictions imposed during the quarantine period. (PNA)