Bogus Taal donation drives include one name-dropping Pacquiao
Solicitation drives for victims of Taal Volcano eruptions, including bogus ones, have proliferated on social media, prompting senators to call on the National Bureau of Investigation to crack down on fake donation campaigns. Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Thursday said he would ask the NBI and the Department of Information and Communications Technology to track down the people behind the bogus accounts using his name.
“It came to my attention that there are several social media accounts bearing my name soliciting donations supposedly for the Taal Volcano eruption victims,’’ he said in a statement.
Pacquiao said he had not authorized those solicitations.
“My office and my family have been in close coordination with Batangas and Cavite local government units to directly provide assistance for the victims and I am using my personal resources for our effort to help our people,” he said.
If he would ask for help for the eruption victims, he would do it through his official social media accounts, the senator said.
On Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, his handle is @MannyPacquiao.
His foundation’s Facebook account is @MannyPacquiaoFoundation; its Instagram is @PacquiaoFoundation; its Twitter handle is @MPac_Foundation.Pacquiao, who gained popularity as an international boxing champion, called on the people behind the bogus accounts to have shame.
“Many of our countrymen are suffering and you still find the time to deceive others. I am warning you, stop your scam because I assure you, I will not stop until you are unmasked and face charges,” he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also said the NBI and the Department of Trade and Industry should look into scams using the Taal Volcano eruption to get money.
“It is given that some people will take advantage of the situation. What’s important is that the agencies monitor and catch these opportunists,” Gatchalian said at the Kapihan sa Senado forum.
He noted that many of the disinformation and misinformation drives were conducted on social media and said the NBI had the capability to crack down on these.
To stop these kinds of practices for the long term, authorities must be able to arrest and jail the perpetrators to serve as a deterrence, he said.
According to Gatchalian, donors should check if they are giving to a legitimate agency by asking for a receipt.
In Valenzuela City where he used to be mayor, official acknowledgment receipts are given, the senator said.
Thousands of residents from Batangas towns have been evacuated after Taal Volcano’s steam-driven eruption on Jan. 12. The eruption left a thick blanket of ash on homes, roads and vegetation.
The government has declared a 14-kilometer radius danger zones, where everyone should be evacuated, as the volcano remains restive and could erupt violently anytime. Tourism group driveThe Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA), meanwhile, launched on Thursday its “Bangon Batangas Project” as part of efforts to help people affected by the eruption.
“Following the Taal eruption, the rising number of evacuees from the province are in urgent need of help. We ask everyone to give a hand during this unfortunate time,” the PTAA said in a post on its Facebook page.
The PTAA, a member of the government-created Tourism Congress of the Philippines, said it would be collaborating with Philippine Red Cross to extend assistance.
The association said cash donations may be sent to the PTAA Foundation’s Metrobank account.
The cost of damage caused by the volcano eruption to the tourism industry has yet to be determined by the Department of Tourism (DOT), which has advised tourism establishments within the danger zones to suspend operations for the safety of their customers and workers.
The DOT said the tourism industry in the affected areas, particularly in Tagaytay City, has suffered a “tremendous setback.”
Tagaytay is Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region’s top tourism destination.
The city has 156 accredited establishments under the category of hotel, bed and breakfast hostels, inns and pension houses, with a total of 2,789 rooms, according to DOT-Calabarzon regional office. —Reports from Leila B. Salaverria and Jerome Aning
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