Public warned vs groups fronting as MCGI to ask for cash donations

UNTV News   •   June 12, 2019   •   16691

MANILA, Philippines – Several cases of street scams have been reported not only in the Philippines but in different parts of the world.

Scammers usually pose as members of charitable institutions or religious groups to ask for cash donations allegedly to fund charity events or programs.

Many of them have gone viral on social media such as a Filipina who was caught on camera asking money from customers inside a restaurant abroad saying the donations were to support a certain “children’s foundation”.

Another incident which happened in Japan was recorded by an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who, in the video, was questioning another Filipino about the legality of her action. The latter was caught collecting cash donations from passers by allegedly to support the same foundation for children.

Such scheme was reported by a local news agency in Japan.

Three Filipinas also made headlines in Thailand this year for illegally soliciting funds allegedly to support the victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines even if the calamity happened six years ago.

The same modus operandi was reported in Brazil where the scammer was confronted by another Filipino in an airport.

The scammer was caught on video asking monetary donations from tourists and locals to allegedly raise a Yolanda fund and also to donate to a certain children’s foundation by a Filipino founder.

Just recently, President Rodrigo Duterte directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate and facilitate the closure of a religiously-inclined group luring Filipinos into an investment scam.

Because such modus operandi have been exposed, scammers are now using the names of legitimate organizations to push their interests.

The Members, Church of God International (MCGI) was not spared from such illegal activities.

A report has reached the knowledge of MCGI administration about individuals posing as supporters of the group’s charity works and collecting money from just anybody on the streets.

The street scammers were using the name of La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) and MCGI to ask for cash donations.

“We vehemently deny the involvement sa mga ganyang klase ng pangongolekta, panghihingi ng donasyon sa kalsada o saan mang lugar, (in any practice of collecting or begging for donations on the streets or just anywhere),” Kuya Daniel Razon said during the program “Good Morning Kuya” on UNTV.

“Hindi po iyan totoo. Hindi po nanggagaling iyan sa organisasyon, iyang ganyang klase ng panghihingi para maipagpatuloy ang ating charity works. Natuto po tayo sa katwiran ng Panginoon na magbatak ng buto,” he further stressed.

(That is not true. That is not a practice in the organization to collect money [from just anybody] to support our charity works. We have learned from the righteousness of God to work and earn a living.)

Kuya Daniel offered a reward to anybody who could provide information that will lead to the arrest of these scammers implicating the names of LVCC and MCGI and to curb such illegal practice while putting those behind the scams to justice.

“Anybody na gumagawa ng ganyan, ipahuli ninyo. Kuhanan ninyo ng video dahil iyan ho ay scam, isang paninira din iyan na maituturing dahil wala hong ganyan na ginagawa ang mga members ng Church of God International o anybody na nagtataguyod po ng La Verdad Christian College or ng ating mga ginagawang mga charity works,” he said.

(Anybody who engages in such schemes, have them arrested. Get videos of them because that is a scam, a form of provocation and defamation because such is not a practice among members of Church of God International or anybody who supports La Verdad Christian College or any of our charity works.)

La Verdad Christian College is a private, non-stock, non-profit institution that provides scholarship to deserving but financially challenged students.

The school is operated by MCGI spearheaded by Bro. Eli Soriano and supported by UNTV under the supervision of Kuya Daniel Razon.

“Sina Bro. Eli Soriano at Kuya Daniel Razon ang isa sa kanilang ginagawa para ma sustain at magtuloy-tuloy ang kanilang advocacy na makapag-provide ng free quality education from pre-school to college (ay) from their own pocket,” noted Shiela Sabugaa, LVCC’s Deputy Administrator.

(Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel Razon primarily work to sustain their advocacy and to be able to constantly provide free, quality pre-school to college education, (they spend) from their own pockets.)

“Nagbibigay talaga sila (ng) galing sa kanilang sariling pera, business or sweldo. Iyon talaga ang primary source ng fund para sa operational expenses ng La Verdad (Christian College). At para ma-sustain, meron pa silang ibang projects na ginagawa,” she added.

(They provide funds taken from their personal earnings, from their personal businesses or salaries. Those are the primary sources of funds for the operational expenses of La Verdad Christian College. And to sustain it, they do additional projects to generate funds.)

Each La Verdad scholar is entitled to free college education, books, uniform and meals without paying any amount.

Scholars from the provinces are also provided with free lodging, regardless of religious affiliation as long as they have the interest and perseverance to learn.

“Free tuition po talaga as in walang binabayaran maski miscellaneous fees po. Tapos aside pa doon may free lunch pa, may free uniform pa tapos minsan pati mga instructional materials ibinibigay sa amin ng libre – paggamit ng computer sa library, walang bayad, walang internet fee unlike doon sa ibang university,” said La Verdad scholar Carein Claire Viray.

“I can never thank them enough doon sa ginawa nila kasi ang dami nilang buhay na natulungan,” said another scholar, Paul John Nadela.

(I can never thank them enough for what they have done because they have helped many lives.)

“Iyon ang catch doon. They don’t ask anything in return. There are so many scholarships available sa labas and oftentimes after they graduate mandated ka nang magtrabaho ng ganito, mag-render ng ganito or anything and doon sa scholarship na ibinibigay sa amin ni Bro. Eli at Kuya hindi lang siya for academic purposes. Hindi lang nakaka-enrich ng mind pati ng spirit,” he added.

(That’s the catch there. They don’t ask anything in return. There are so many scholarships available outside and oftentimes after you graduated, you are mandated to work for them, to render service or do anything [for them]. The scholarship that Bro. Eli and Kuya provide does not serve for academic purposes only. It does not enrich the mind but also the spirit.)

Aside from the free scholarship provided by LVCC, many charitable works are being jointly operated and supported by MCGI and UNTV such as the daily free ride, medical mission, legal consultation and programs that extend assistance to those in need such as UNTV Cup and concerts for a cause.

Public warned against scammers using fake BOC emails, web links

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Friday warned the public against unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of initiatives to promote the use of online systems amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic by posing as bureau personnel to extort money from their victims.

The BOC issued the warning following reports of people claiming to have communicated with individuals allegedly from the bureau who in turn ask payment for the release of their packages.

The bureau said these scammers are using fake Bureau of Customs e-mail accounts and websites as means to swindle their victims.

The BOC reiterated that the official website of the Bureau of Customs is http://customs.gov.ph and it is using e-mail address boc.cares@customs.gov.ph to cater to stakeholder concerns.

The agency said it is now coordinating with the National Bureau of Investigation to take down these fake accounts and bring the scammers to justice.

It also reminded the public to remain vigilant against criminals who take advantage of technology to commit unscrupulous acts.

2GO waives P35-M rental fee for quarantine ships

Maris Federez   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Business tycoon Dennis Uy has clarified that the use of the shipping and logistics company 2Go’s vessels was offered to the government as a donation to be used as COVID-19 quarantine facilities for the repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

In a statement, Uy said he consulted with the company’s shareholders and they have decided to waive the rental.

“As Chairman of 2GO, I have conferred with other shareholders and have given explicit instructions to waive the PhP35M expected payment from the government,” Uy said.

He added that it was the Department of Transportation (DOTr) who offered to pay them P35-million as a lease on the two vessels but the company has no intention of accepting such payment.

DOTr Sec. Arthur Tugade, on Wednesday (April 22), said that the contracted rental fee for the two-month use of the two vessels is P35-million.

“Ito nirerentahan ng gobyerno yung dalawa ng 35 million mura naman yan at nagamit if you will compute it on the basis of bed space and use,” Tugade said.

This roused the ire of netizens for the seemingly unjust charges that the company imposed on the government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uy, in turn, apologized for the apparent misunderstanding and immediately clarified the matter further.

“Again, I apologize if this news has unduly offended some of our fellow Filipinos. So let me be clear. 2GO is providing two vessels to serve as quarantine facilities free of charge to the Filipino people,” Uy said.

“The PhP35 million was an offer made by the DOTr, for which we had no plans of accepting,” he added.

Meanwile, DOTr Asec. Goddes Hope Libiran said the P35-million rental was initially agreed upon in a negotiation of the agency with the shipping company. Uy, however, was not part of the 2Go team that they entered the contract with.

“There was a negotiation. To be clear, Mr. Uy was never part of any of the discussion. No actual payment of rent has been made by the government to 2GO Group Inc, as it was Sec. Tugade’s intention to talk with the principal of 2GO to ask for concessions,” Libiran said.

Libiran was also quick to clarify that up to this date, no payment has been settled yet with the company.

“Until that happens, and up to now, no payment has been made,” she said.

The business tycoon’s statement, on the other hand, further said that the actual operating cost for the two ships is at P260-million which the company decided to waive as their goal was to be of help to the government by way of rendering their services as a donation.

“To set the record the straight actual cost to operate the 2 vessels as quarantine facilities is at PHP260M. But this was intended to be a donation. The PHP35M was an offer made by the DOTr for which we had no plans of accepting,” the 2Go chairman reiterated.

Uy added that he believes this is the right moment for the government and the private sector to work hand-in-hand and sacrifice for the welfare of the Filipinos. —(from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

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