A business organization has appealed before President Rodrigo R. Duterte for him to act on the report that alleged Ponzi-like investment schemes have been proliferating in its area and nearby provinces.
In a letter dated January 21 addressed to the President, the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, through president Elmer V. Catulpos, said these investment schemes have been proliferating in its city and in nearby provinces and that it might soon impact on their economies.
“Bankers in Gensan (General Santos City) have already noted drastic withdrawals by depositors as many residents go crazy in investing on Kapa (Kabus Padatuon), Almamico (Alabel Maasim Small Scale Mining Cooperative), AlamCco (Alabel Maasim Credit Cooperative), and other groups representing themselves as legitimate religious ministries and government-accredited cooperatives out to liberate people from financial miseries,” Catulpos said in the letter.
The business group even passed a resolution to express its apprehension over the activities of the groups.
Ponzi scheme, is an outlawed investment scheme which promises huge returns, but exposes new investors to high risk as their money is used to pay old investors. Named after Charles Ponzi who popularized it in 1919, Ponzi scheme does not involve exchange of goods, but merely transfer of cash from new investor to the older one.
In its reply to the allegation of the business organization, Kapa, whose founder is Pastor Joel Apolinario, through official Facebook page of its main office in Alabel, Sarangani, branded the resolution of the business organization as “fool information (sic).”
“This is how the media and those companies work together to manipulate us. For almost four decades of doing this to the people. They don’t want us to grow and financially free,” it said.
It said it can “pull you out of poverty,” adding that it can help families bring their relatives working abroad to come home, lessen crimes by fighting poverty, provide healthcare and investing in businesses.
It added that it has 1.3 million members who have received “Love gifts” who have been able to buy their needs, eat in “restaurants regularly,” travel, buy properties including real estate and vehicles.
The two other groups have Facebook accounts but are not as active as Kapa and that they have yet to release statements in regard to the call of the business organization.
The problem, Catulpos added, is that the “huge sums of money taken out from banks and from natural money circulation becomes uncontrollable and can cause huge financial and economic damage to our locality and to the country’s economy.”
He said the groups have promised their supposed investors attractive returns that could run to about a third of their investments a month, a promise that is “quite improbable from a standpoint of a legitimate business.”
He said these schemes have also “abet the deterioration of our moral fiber of our society, teaching people to be lazy and encourage discord among and between people.”
He pointed out that these groups have been “aggressive in their recruitment of potential investors, even dropping names of well-known political figures and celebrities as among their prime investors to lend legitimacy to their groups.”
To ensure the popularity of these groups, he added, they even have a radio station in the city.
Based on the information provided to TIMES, the other groups split from Kapa and there is another one also emerging whose main clients are police officers.
In the city, a source from the Police Regional Office said some members of the police force have borrowed from cooperatives and other financial institutions, although officials of the agency did not confirm the report.
In March 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Kapa, which at that time was operating only in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, was not a registered entity and that it was not “authorized to solicit investments.
The agency also called on the public to “stop investing in this kind of investment activity and to take the necessary precautions” in dealing with the entity and its representatives.
In October last year, members of the National Bureau of Investigation arrested two broadcasters in General Santos City after Kapa accused them of alleged extortion, but the two claimed they were framed as they were among the critics of the group.