MANILA, Philippines - Netizens were abuzz over a photo circulating on social networking sites on Thursday, which said that poor people are not allowed in Greenbelt 4, a posh mall in Makati City.
The sign read: "This is a private controlled environment. Poor people and other disturbing realities strictly prohibited. Thank you! Greenbelt 4 Ayala Land Corporation."
While some Twitter users were offended by the photo, a large number of them doubted its authenticity.
"Fake. Ayala Land has never been called 'Ayala Land Corp.' It's 'Ayala Land Inc.' (Hence 'ALI')," one of them said.
Another quipped, "I suppose this is a hoax. Ayala Land can't be that stupid."
Meanwhile, this user said, "Is that even real? No 'Ayala Malls' logo, wrong corporate name, looks like it was pasted on."
Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), the company that owns and operates the Greenbelt malls, issued a statement on its Facebook page hours after the photo was uploaded on the Internet.
The local property giant made it clear that "the signage is not authorized and is not part of Greenbelt's official mall signage."
"The Ayala Malls management does not tolerate such pranks and is currently investigating the matter. We shall be coordinating with the proper authorities for corresponding actions to be taken," ALI said.
"We would like to reassure everyone that Greenbelt is for the enjoyment of the public and the community it serves," it added.
Greenbelt offers a mix of retail shops, restaurants and entertainment centers.
It currently has 5 sections, with Greenbelt 4 featuring high-end boutiques such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci and Tod's.
As of 2010, a Filipino family is considered poor if it has an annual income that is below P294,296, according to special computations made by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).
A middle-income family earns between P294,296 and P2.39 million every year, while a family from the country's elite segment earns more than P2.39 million annually.