MANILA - Nearly 300 students from UP Diliman were left stranded in their dormitories following the government-ordered enhanced community quarantine in Luzon due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The students are unable to go home in their respective provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. Their allowances have also dwindled and are not expected to receive money from their parents due to lack of work.
Some students in other universities in Metro Manila also have difficulties going home due to the transport shutdown.
Second year FEU nursing student Aaron Carl Aranas posted on Twitter that he was stranded in his dorm in Sampaloc and needed to go home to his family in Commonwealth.
“Hindi ko alam kung hanggang saan kaya ng paa ko pero ang alam ko lang, kailangan kong umuwi papunta sa pamilya ko,” his tweet read.
He would need to walk 13 kilometers in order to get home.
“Noong magkaroon ng lockdown, nag-stay po muna ako sa dorm kasi magkakaroon kami ng online classes, nagpaiwan na lang po ako kasi sa bahay namin walang signal since nasa tabi po siya ng sapa,” Aranas said.
After a netizen’s posted his tweet on social media in #INEEDARIDE, Aranas was able to get a volunteer with a private car to bring him to his house for free.
“Nagpapasalamat ako at makakauwi na, hindi ko na iisipin kung saan kakain, saan bibili,” he shared.
Meanwhile, Lucky dela Rosa is busy preparing food for more than 50 students in their dormitories who were left stranded in Ipil Residence Hall in the University of the Philippines.
Dela Rosa, a resident of Cagayan de Oro, said most of those who are unable to go home during the lockdown live in Visayas and Mindanao.
“Dahil lockdown sa mga probinsiya nila, walang kapasidad ang mga magulang nila na magbigay ng allowance para sa kanila. Yung mga magulang namin, wala na pong trabaho, pangalawa, umaasa lang po kami sa scholarship,” Lucky said.
A student named Iona decided to stay in her dorm at Ilang-Ilang Residence Hall during the lockdown because she thought people in her hometown would be safer if she didn’t go home.
“Mas magiging ligtas ang mga tao sa hometown ko kung saan ako nanggaling na manatili na lang ako dito sa unibersidad,” she said.
A few days into the lockdown, the students said they are now short of cash.
According to the UP Student Council vice chairman Eser Jose, some 272 students are stranded in their dormitories. This number does not include those living in boarding houses outside the university.
“A lot of them ay galing po sa mga probinsiya, marami po sa kanila ang di nakauwi, dahil una, biglaan din po yung lockdown sa Metro Manila. Hindi naman po ganun kabilis na makabili ng ticket pamasahe. Yung iba po sa kanila ay galing pa sa Visayas at Mindanao. Nag-re-require po yon ng mahal na airfare, hindi po iyon afford ng lahat ng estudyante na biglaan na makauwi,” Jose explained.
The student council has begun asking for donations for food and toiletries.
Paula Barredo, another student left stranded, decided not to go home out of fear of missing online classes.
She is now helping repack donations for her fellow students.
“Wala po kasi kaming wifi sa bahay so nag-stay po ako dito for online classes. Nong nag-enhanced quarantine, di na po kami nakauwi,” Barredo said.
UP Chancellor Dr. Fidel Nemenzo said they are doing their best to provide for the students.
“Sinisigurado naman namin ang kanilang mga daily necessities pagkain at groceries ay nabibigay sa kanila at patuloy ang aming university food service na nagluluto ng pagkain para sa kanila, sa mga estudyante. May university food service na rin na nagdedeliver na sa kanila dahil nga sabi namin habang nandito sila tayong lahat ay naka-quarantine,” Nemenzo said.
Those who wish to help may leave their donations at the drop off point in Sampaguita residence hall lobby in UP Diliman.