The disappearance of cats that used to live around Bonifacio Global City High Street Park has worried and angered people on social media. Photo by Marcelle John Marcelino

Missing BGC cats 'relocated, adopted', hotel management claims
Rosette Adel ( - February 19, 2018 - 4:10pm
MANILA, Philippines — Management of a hotel allegedly involved in the disappearance of cats in Bonifacio Global City High Street Park, Taguig City, on Sunday said that the strays were relocated and adopted.
In two separate statements, the management of Shangri-La at the Fort responded to inquiries on social media about the cats that had gone missing from the park beside the hotel.
The management said the cats have been relocated to two locations in Taguig while some were adopted by hotel employees.
Public outrage on the disappearance of cats started after a concerned citizen, Lucy M., wrote a message accusing Shangri-La at The Fort of hiring PestBusters Philippines "to deflect cats from their perimeter."
The message was posted by Marcelle John Marcelino last Friday and quickly circulated online.
Lucy said that BGC has no rats because the area is being protected by the cats but she now questioned their disappearance asking if they were poisoned, exterminated or thrown somewhere in Manila. 
"Pestbusters exceeded their jurisdiction, they took the cats that were located on Ayala property, and not the Shangri-la perimeter," the message read.
"And they mobilized all of this in the dead of night, at a time when no one would notice them do their deeds. But the Ayala guards saw them! Not once, not twice, but several times, and always at night," it said, adding that even the cats' milk bottles, feeding bowls and vitamins were also taken.
According to Lucy, she had been told that this is not the first time a pest control firm exterminated a whole community of cats or dogs in Manila. She said that that happened in a supermarket on Macapagal Avenue and outside a bank in Burgos Circle.

'No cats killed, harmed'

Shangri-La management however, assured the public that no harm was done when they relocated the cats.
It clarified that they relocated 11 cats wandering in and out of its premises and not 38, as reported by a netizen. 
"First and foremost, and most importantly, no cats have been killed no harmed during the course of the relocation," Sam Gallardo, the hotel’s communication director said. 
Gallardo said the hotel has been conducting steps to manage its co-existence with cats since November 2017. It said that 12 cats were also previously given safe homes.
The hotel also cited that 11 cats were "safely relocated" to the residential areas along Ilaya Street, Anastacio Street, both in Taguig City between Jan. 13 and Feb. 13, 2018. However, a cursory check by showed that Ilaya and Anastacio streets are not located in Taguig City but in Makati.
A group of animal advocates, Cats of BGC, also said Shangri-La informed them through e-mail on February 16 that the cats were "placed at Buting and near Kalayaan Avenue."
Shangri-La said that it met with representatives of Cats of BGC and non-profit animal welfare group Cara Welfare Philippines. The management said they discussed "long-term cooperation to ensure the welfare of the cats in the neighborhood" including CARA's assistance on the spraying and neutering initiatives, and adoption avenues.
CARA confirmed that there was a meeting but it clarified that it happened after the cats disappeared. 
"We were not privy to any plans they had. We are still trying to get straight answers from Shang and Pestbusters but have been given the runaround," CARA said in its statement.
Meanwhile, Shangri-la considered the incident as a learning experience citing that it should now closely collaborate with experts in the community to provide a safe and happy environment for animals and humans.
It said it would offer CARA and Cats of BGC to mobilize some of its colleagues to help in the rescue of cats back to BGC.
"Please be assured that the management is committed to being a responsible neighbor in the community where we are located, and a good corporate citizens of this country," the hotel management said.

'Bring cats back to BGC'

Despite assurances to the public, Shangri-la continues to receive flak from netizens through bad ratings on its Facebook page.
There is also an online petition on urging the Pestbusters and Shangri-la to bring the cats back to BGC.
The petition features Lucy's message and is calling for 5,000 signatures before the complaint is forwarded to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Office of the President.
"If you 'really' did not kill them, then it would be easy for you to bring each and every cat back to where they belong. My 5-year-old child begs you to bring back his friends alive and well and accounted for, however, if you are not able to do this, it means you killed them, and are covering up for it. Shame on you, you broke so many hearts this Valentine's Day, both children and adults," Lucy said in the message.
"Please bring back our cats, dead or alive, we want to embrace and hold our fallen family," she added.

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