Starving Construction Workers Eat Rats and Cats at U.P. Compound
Some construction workers stranded at the University of the Philippines Diliman compound say they have eaten rats and stray cats for survival.
Correspondents from PEP.ph learned of the situation of 428 stranded construction workers through Alfred Allan Jose.
Jose is the founder of the Quezon City COVID-19 Food and Goods Donation, a group that sends relief and aid to Filipinos severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
There are multiple construction sites on campus, run by different independent contractors.
According to Jose, some of the construction workers say they have received no support from their particular employers. They have had to find ways to subsist during the lockdown. They ate fruit from fruit-bearing trees, but when these finally ran out, they turned to hunting rats and cats.
The construction workers cannot go home to their provinces because of the lockdown implemented in Luzon.
U.P. has denied the reports and has issued a statement.
Meanwhile, barangay officials say they are unable to send relief because the construction workers are not residents of their barangay.
Construction workers are among the worst affected sectors in this period of COVID-19 crisis. They earn wages on a daily basis or based on a no work, no pay arrangement.
Indigenous people are also stranded within the U.P. compound. According to Jose, they are also in dire need of help.
"Around 80 to 100 [indigenous people are stranded], including staff who feed them who are housed in U.P. also,” said Jose in a statement to PEP.ph.
On April 20, Jose and his team brought sacks of rice to the construction workers and other people stranded at the compound, but these aren’t sufficient, said Jose. They also need other food for nutrition such as poultry, vegetables, and meat.
The U.P. administration has already extended help to the workers. It also called on the employers and private contractors to send help to the laborers.
Apart from helping take care of the construction workers, the U.P. administration is also looking after stranded employees and students on campus.
This story has been updated from the original to add the statement from the U.P. administration.