By Rommel F. Lopez

MANILA – A senior official of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said it the cooperation of local government units (LGU) was needed to alert monetary officials on easy-money schemes in their areas.

BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency (PNA) that LGUs were in the best position to alert officials of the rise of easy-money schemes as they “would be the first to know what’s happening on the ground, or at the surveillance level.”

“When things seem to be developing into something ‘unusual’ at the LGU level, this is where partnership with the LGU would be beneficial in alerting concerned government agencies,” she said.

“The LGU would be in a position to identify the vulnerabilities in their respective areas… the BSP together with other government agencies like the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), IC (Insurance Commission) can focus on as far as fin-ed (financial education) is concerned,” she said.

She said the BSP had strengthened its partnership with local government units (LGUs) and the private sector to widen the reach of its financial literacy program, to help educate people on how to wisely save or invest their hard-earned money, however she admitted this was still a “work in progress”.

She said there would always be people vulnerable to invest in these scams to the point of even selling their property in hopes of reaping huge returns on their investments.

The latest of these alleged scams involves Kapa Community Ministry International (Kapa).

The SEC issued a permanent cease-and-desist order upon Kapa as the commission accused the religious group of operating an investment scam in the guise of religion and at the expense of the investing public.

The SEC said Kapa enticed investors by promising a 30-percent monthly return for their donation of at least PHP10,000.

Kapa’s assets, amounting to more than P100 million, have been ordered frozen by the Anti-Money Laundering Council upon the request of the SEC.