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OFWs told to avoid KAPA ‘scam’

25 May 2019


By Daisy CL Mandap



Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre has issued a stern warning to Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong against putting in money on KAPA Worldwide Ministry, in the wake of the government’s move to stop its operations.

Labatt asks, 'Hindi pa ba kayong nagsawang magpaloko?'
Labatt dela Torre said in his post earlier today, May 24: “If it’s too good to be true, it’s most probably a scam. The KAPA is one such example. The Securities and Exchange Commision has already warned the public about KAPA and yet many OFWs still fall for it. For God’s sake, hindi pa ba kayo nagsawang magpaloko?
He then added, obviously in frustration: “Sabagay kung marami kang perang naipon at gusto mong lustayin sa isang scam, sige magsawa ka.”

KAPA, which also goes by the names KAPA Kabus Padatuon (Enrich the Poor), KAPA/ KAPPA (Kabus Padutoon), and KAPA-Co Convenience Store and General Merchandise, was stripped of its registration by the SEC on April 3 this year for “serious misrepresentation on what it can do or is doing to the prejudice and damage of the public.”
The en banc decision said the revocation of KAPA’s certificate of incorporation was due to its act of offering and selling investments in the guise of donations without the necessary license and in a manner resembling a Ponzi scheme, otherwise known as “pyramiding”.

But in spite of the SEC decision, many Filipinos, including those working abroad, appear determined to keep putting money into the organization, which despite claiming to be a religious group, does not have churches, only offices and companies.
And it’s all because, as in previous other scams which victimized hundreds of OFWs in Hong Kong like Emgoldex, the promised return is exceedingly high. In the case of KAPA, “donors” are promised no less than 30% interest monthly.

KAPA founder Apolinario promises monthly 'blessings'
of at least 30% of the 'donation'
One commenter who was obviously displeased by Dela Torre’s post said: “Ewan ko ba kung bakit may mga kapwa tayong mga Filipino na hinde masaya na umunlad tayo lahat..kaya walang asenso ang Pilipinas kasi sa mga taong sakim at gusto sila lang ang yayaman or guminhawa ang buhay. Kung scammer yong founder nila bakit hindi nyo po ipahuli sa pulis at kasuhan? 3 million na po ang member ng KAPA pero ni isa sa kanila walang nagreklamo na SCAM sir.”
According to its website, www.kapamilyonaryo.com, KAPA which means “Kadatu Ang Padulngan Apil Komunidad” or “On the way to getting rich, along with the community,” was founded two years ago by Joel A. Apolinario, who claims to be a pastor.

Those who want to become members must donate money directly to Apolinario “for the propagation of religious faith, establishment of livelihood programs for the benefit of its members.”
The minimum donation is Php5,000 and the maximum is Php1million. In exchange, a “donor” is guaranteed a minimum monthly “love gifts” or blessings of 30% of the donated amount.

“The more you give, the more you receive,” says its website, adding that the amount of the interest or “blessing” is the prerogative of the founder.

Specially targeted are overseas Filipino workers, who are urged to send their donations to trusted “sponsors” who will transact in their stead at Kapa offices. “In one year or two years mong hindi kukunin ang Monthly Blessings mo... pwede kana mag for good dito sa Pinas kasama ang Family mo,” said the website.
What is not made clear is how Apolinario intends to make enough to pay back the hefty interest that he promises to members, except perhaps from the additional donations he expect to keep pouring in.

Although there are pictures of businesses he and his wife are supposed to be invested in, even a picture of a helicopter he’s said to have bought from the donations, there is no mention of any livelihood or religious project that has been set up for the group.

Neither is there an accountability to anyone, including the government. The site says it is tax-exempt as it is a religious organization.

Despite the scrapping of its SEC registration, KAPA continues to operate 18 offices across the country, all of them in Mindanao, except one, which is located in Taytay, Rizal.

More interestingly, no one has been arrested over the presumed scam. Neither has anyone come out publicly to complain about having lost money in KAPA.

This is presumably because the investments are still pouring in, or knowing that they were asked for a donation, the members know there is a possibility they will not get back anything in return.

But there could be another reason. A report published in Mindanews on May 22 said that among those who put money in KAPA and other illegal investment schemes in the region are ranking officials and members of the Philippine National Police.

The report quoted Brig. Gen Eliseo Tam Rasco, regional director of the Police Regional office-12,  as saying: “According to our estimates, billions of pesos have been lost to these fraudulent investment schemes. The numbers keep on rising as of this moment.”

While reports of those being scammed keep coming in, Rasco said many people are still lining up everyday to cash in, obviously eager to take advantage of the windfall, knowing that the pyramid could collapse at any time.
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