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De Lima warns public vs fake solicitations for Taal victims

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Senator Leila de Lima has urged the public to be “more vigilant” when approached by those who are soliciting funds for charities linked to causes or disasters.

It will be safer to send donations, whether it be in cash or in kind, directly to legitimate charities or organizations instead to those claiming to be their intermediaries, she said.

De Lima has warned the public against unscrupulous individuals who are using the generosity of others to steal donations and contributions intended for relief and recovery efforts to those affected by Taal volcano’s eruption.

She has received reports that certain unscrupulous individuals are capitalizing on the miseries of thousands of families, including farmers and fishermen, who were badly hit by the eruption of Taal Volcano.

“It is very heart-warming to learn that people are volunteering for rescue and relief operations being organized to assist the victims of Taal eruption and help them get back on their feet,” de Lima said.

“But let us also exercise some due diligence in welcoming these solicitations and sending our donations to fly-by-night organizations and shadowy individuals who want to profit from such tragedy,” she said.

Netizens have reported of alleged scams of personalities pretending to be affiliated with charities, religious organizations and celebrities claiming that they are gathering funds for evacuees affected by the Taal volcano eruption last January 12.

Similar scams were also reportedly happening outside the country. In Vancouver, Canada, users of social media website Reddit reported that Filipinos “working in two’s or three’s” have been seen soliciting funds in stores and malls in the area.

Recently, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) warned against a similar scam using the name of several bishops to solicit donations for a gift to be given to Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle who was recently appointed to a Vatican post.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, reiterated her call to repeal the 40-year-old solicitation law to penalize unscrupulous individuals and organizations preying on victims of calamities.

De Lima earlier filed Senate Bill No. (SBN) 851 that would require stringent requirements for solicitation permits and impose stiff penalties for violators.

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