THE chairman of the House committee on transportation on Thursday warned against the proliferation of con syndicates involved in donation scams using the dire and pitiful situation of many Filipinos affected by the widespread flooding.
Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, panel chairman, lamented that some unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the situation at the expense of tens of thousands of families in Marikina, Rizal, Cagayan Valley and the Bicol region whose lives were ripped apart by the series of powerful typhoons that hit Philippines over the past two months.
Sarmiento made the warning as he revealed that a group claiming to represent his office has been asking money from friends, supporters and even businessmen from the transport industry purportedly as part of his fund-raising campaign to help the typhoon victims.
According to him, he had heard similar stories from members of Congress who are known for their generosity.
“The office of one of our colleagues called to verify if I’m seeking assistance in the form of cash donation for the victims of the calamity. Please be informed that there is no such activity or any donation drive,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento said that con artists are using the names of politicians, showbiz personalities and prominent personalities in the business sector to increase their chances of getting huge amount of money from their victims who are mostly wealthy friends and supporters.
There are even reports that these con artists even create Social Media pages and Go Fund Me sites for the flood victims using the identities of politicians and other prominent personalities.
“While we are appealing for help for tens of thousands of families who lost their homes, properties and the lives of their loved ones, we should make sure that our donations do not end up in the hands of these unscrupulous syndicates who are preying on the misfortunes of other people,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento also called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to launch a crackdown against these scammers who are the worst kind of criminals as they prey on people who are already so helpless, desperate and are at the lowest point of their lives.