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Platinum Plans clients press fight to regain money

14 April 2016

Hong Kong-based OFWs who have invested in Platinum Plans Philippines Inc. are planning another attempt to recover their money from the pre-need company which went under several years back.
Five customers with a total exposure of nearly Php2 million in the company are planning to join a court action in the Philippines to force the court-appointed liquidator to pay up. They also rejected an offer by the liquidator to pay each investor a measly Php1,000 as initial payback for their investment.
Platinum Plans Philippines, Inc. was put under a court-ordered rehabilitation plan in August 2005, which was to last for eight years. Under this plan, the company's assets were held in trust by a liquidator for distribution, payment or settlement of claims from stakeholders.
However, many investors found out recently that their names were missing from the master list of claimants published by the liquidator.
The five Hong Kong-based plan holders led by Marlyn Agasa, paid a call to The SUN on  Jan 3 to ask for help in getting hundreds of other investors who are still working in Hong Kong to join them in their claim.
"Nag-alok ang liquidator ng Platinum Plans na bigyan ng paunang-bayad na tig-isang libong piso kaming mga plan holder, pero hindi kami papayag," Agasa said.
"Ilang taon naming pinaghirapan ang perang inihulog sa mga kinuha naming plan, tapos ganun lang ang ibabalik sa amin," she added.
A certain Liquidator Cruz said on his Facebook webpage that only claimants with a BDO bank account would receive the full amount of Php1,000; those with accounts in other  banks would be charged Php150.
Plan holders in Manila who accepted the initial payment said they were asked to sign a quitclaim, which means they cannot file a case against the company.                                                                       Agasa, who herself had invested Php257,000 in two pre-need plans offered by PPPI, estimated that 500 investors of the fallen company are still in Hong Kong.
She wants all her fellow investors in Hong Kong to link up with Platinum Plan Philippines Plan Holders Association Inc., which is spearheading the fight to recover their money.
Agasa said plan holders who went to the Public Attorneys' Office in Makati in January to pursue their case were told that each member must submit his/her original indigent certificate, a copy of his/her certificate of full payment as proof of being a plan holder, and pay a membership fee of Php1,000 to pay for costs.  
In January 2007, investors in Hong Kong formed the Migrants Action for Protection of Rights and Livelihood "to defend themselves against unscrupulous schemes and practices" that victimize OFWs.
But Agasa said this group seems to be inactive now.
"Gusto naming kontakin ang lahat ng mga kumuha ng pre-need plan sa Platinum Plans para magbubuklod kami at sumama sa grupo ng iba pang mga planholder sa Pilipinas naghahabol ngayon sa kumpanya," Agasa explained to The SUN.
She said by linking up with claimants in the Philippines, there is hope they could recover their investments estimated to run into hundreds of millions of pesos.
Agasa, a domestic worker here for 20 years now, said she bought a Schoolmaster Plan in 1999 for a quarterly premium of Php4,822, or a total of Php98,440. She also bought a Savings and Investment Plan 100 that was to pay her a Php100,000 lump sum pension upon maturity on Aug 16, 2015, in addition to a yearly Php20,000 allowance starting from 2006.
Her companions Bernadette Fajardo has a total investment of P500,000; while Fe Ablola has Php280,000; Juliana S. Cara, more than Php300,000; and Rubelyn Adriana, has  Php400,000.
Although they are not optimistic of recovering all the money they have invested in the company, they are hoping that by joining up with the Philippines-based victims, they could get relief.
Platinum Plans, along with other, even bigger pre-need companies College Assurance Plans, attracted tens of thousands of investors, many of them OFWs,  during their heyday in the '70s and '80s.
When it sought court protection to undergo rehabilitation and suspend payment of claims from investors in July 2005, Platinum Plans had 37,000 plan holders.
Agasa said plan holders who want to link up with her group may call her at 944414643 and 94373068; Fe Ablola at 95469865; Bernadette Fajardo at 94518454; and Juliana Cara at 67343922.

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