Michelle Silvertino, 33, was found unconscious on a footbridge along a major highway in the capital Manila on June 5.
Silvertino walked from Quezon City, just north of Manila, to Pasay City to the south, with hopes of catching a ride from there, CNN Philippines reported. But that proved to be futile and she became stranded on a footbridge for several days, where she was found unconscious and later declared dead at the hospital.
Her death sparked outrage in the Philippines and the hashtag #JusticeforMichelleSilvertino trended on Twitter. People across the country have joined the social media campaign calling for justice and criticizing the government for not doing enough to help stranded workers like Silvertino.
Silvertino’s plight is shared by many Filipino workers who became stranded during the lockdown as they were unable to travel home due to the restrictions.
“We’re like beggars here. All we want is to go home to our families,” one passenger told the news agency.
The outcry over Silvertino’s death, however, reached the presidential palace and on Thursday the government announced it would help stranded workers in the country return home.
“No one wanted this to happen, but we will now take steps to make sure what happened to Michelle won’t happen again. We have a new policy to help all those stranded in airports and bus terminals,” Roque said.
The statement added that stranded workers will undergo rapid testing for Covid-19 before being found transportation.