Village chiefs urged to be vigilant vs. investment scams

MANILA -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to issue a department order (DO) directing barangays officials to monitor and report investment schemes in their areas to prevent the public from being duped into investing their hard-earned money into an apparently fraudulent investment scheme.

“The moment they receive information that somebody is organizing or recruiting people that involves money, barangay officials should report it to the higher authorities so that we can check if their operation is legal,” DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said in a radio interview Friday.

Densing said Secretary Eduardo Año will issue the DO directing barangay officials to be more vigilant and proactive to guard against various groups involved in investment schemes with unusually high interest rates similar to Kapa-Community Ministry International Inc. (Kapa) founder and pastor Joel Apolinario promised to his followers.

He reminded local government officials to ensure that owners of investment companies have authorization from appropriate state agencies, like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry, before granting them with permit to operate.

“Kung may permit, kailangan maimbestigahan at kung napapatunayan na ito ay kumukuha ng pera at hindi nag-o-operate in accordance with their SEC or DTI registration agad dapat po ipatigil or tanggalan ng lisensya (If they have permits to operate, they have to be investigated and if proven they are receiving money and are not operating in accordance with their SEC or DTI registration, their operations should be stopped immediately or their licenses be suspended),” he stressed.

Densing also reiterated that the operation of Kapa, which was engaged in the investment sector for 20 years, was illegal and considered an investment scam.

“I have never heard of return of investment at 20 or 30 percent per month (like what Kapa promised). That’s clearly a scam,” he noted. (by Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)