UP denies stranded workers ate stray animals

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 22 2020 05:14 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2020 07:08 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The University of the Philippines (UP) dismissed Tuesday social media posts and reports that a group of construction workers stranded inside its Diliman campus have resorted to eating stray animals and fruits from trees.

In a bulletin, UP said its Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Planning and Development spoke with stranded workers and learned that they were each provided P4,000 on March 17 and P2,000 on April 14 by their employers.

The office also inspected the workers' supply room, which contained sacks of rice and canned goods given by other organizations inside the campus, according to the bulletin.

One of the workers was shocked upon learning about the reports claiming they ate animals and fruits from campus trees, UP said.

The viral photos were taken by a group of people who distributed relief goods in the workers' area, but no one had approached the laborers to ask about their condition, according to UP.

Social media posts earlier claimed that stranded construction workers at the UP campus resorted to eating stray rats and cats after losing their jobs following the implementation of the Luzon lockdown.

In an earlier interview with ABS-CBN News, some of the stranded workers told of how they had to endure a week of hunger, eating just once a day. 

They said 47 workers at the site had to share a limited supply of rice. They said they resorted to picking fruits in the area just to get something to eat. 

"Isang saingan na lang sa isang araw. Isang kain na lang. Eh marami kami. 47 kami. Nabubuhay kami sa bigay. Kung walang nagbigay, matagal na kami namatay," said worker Alvin Arpon. 

(We cook rice just once a day. And we are 47. We survived with dole outs. If there was none, we'd probably be dead.)

"Kumakain kami ng mangga, manunungkit lang kami ng mangga diyan. May puno diyan. Ulam namin. 'Yun na lang inuulam namin." said Sonny Gumanas.

(We ate mangoes we picked from a nearby tree. That's our dish with rice.)