GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 June) — The city government has created a technical working group (TWG) to assist residents affected by the national government’s closure of the alleged illegal investment operations of controversial religious group Kapa Community Ministry International Inc.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera said he has tasked the TWG to look into the plight of local Kapa members or investors and extend some assistance, among them counselling and other related activities.
He said the TWG is composed of various local government offices and headed by City Social Welfare and Development Office chief Rebecca Magante.
Citing their assessment, he said Kapa’s investment scheme, which had been declared illegal by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), involved thousands of residents, including employees of the city government and other government agencies.
The mayor said that based on their “conservative estimates,” about 95 percent of city government employees had invested in Kapa.
A report from the Commission on Audit said the city government has a total of 3,214 personnel assigned in 25 departments, comprising 1,785 on job-order basis, 1,315 permanent, 78 co-terminus, 22 casuals and 14 elected officials.
He said some city employees already earned from their investments while others have just put in their money when it closed down more than two weeks ago.
“We are more concerned with those really affected (by the closure). We will have an office or help desk that will cater to them. We’re hoping that they can at least recover their invested capital,” he told reporters.
Kapa’s investment operations stopped last June 10 after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) raided its offices in parts of the country and the house here of its founder Pastor Joel Apolinario.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte personally ordered the crackdown against Kapa, which had been flagged by the SEC for soliciting investments from the public in the form of donations at a monthly interest of 30 percent through a “pyramiding” or Ponzi-like scheme.
SEC has filed charges against Apolinario and other officials of Kapa, which is mainly based in Alabel town in Sarangani province, for violation of Republic Act 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code.
Lawyer Regner Peneza, head of the NBI Sarangani District Office, said they already received at least four complaints against Kapa.
Three were from this city and Sarangani province and one from Digos, Davao del Sur, he said.
Rivera said many local Kapa investors are “still in denial stage,” with some hoping that its operations will eventually resume and continue to earn from their investments.
“We’re expecting that in the next two to three months, this will become intense as they will start to lose hope on getting back their money and I think the complaints will then come in,” he added. (MindaNews)