Gov’t warns public vs scam artists posing as DOTr chief amid Albay calamity
The government warned the public on Thursday against scammers who are passing themselves off as Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in order to solicit money to be used to aid residents affected by the eruption of Mayon volcano.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said it has uncovered the scheme after a person, posing as Tugade, called up the Tacloban office of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to explain his plan to solicit money for residents affected by the volcano eruption.
“An unidentified man purporting to be Sec. Tugade called up the Area 8 office of the CAAP in Tacloban this morning, and inquired about airport projects in the region,” the DOTr said in an advisory on Thursday.
“The caller also asked for the names of project contractors, and said he will solicit P1 million from them allegedly to aid affected residents in Albay,” the department said.
The DOTr stressed that it has not authorized any person or group to solicit money from the public to fund calamity-stricken areas, its projects and campaigns.
“An investigation is currently ongoing,” the DOTr said. “Further, please be informed that Secretary Tugade does not approve solicitation of this nature in any way, form, opportunity and manner, as the same is considered illegal and unlawful.”
“The DOTr also condemns such fraudulent acts, and vows to coordinate with proper authorities to swiftly investigate and determine those who are responsible behind this scam,” the department said.
The department also advised the public to be more vigilant and report similar cases where suspicious individuals use Tugade’s name, or any other DOTr official, for their own profit.
A similar incident was also reported last month after passenger vessel “MV Mercraft 3” sank off Quezon province, leaving five persons dead.
The DOTr said the owner of the vessel was reportedly duped by a person claiming to be Tugade into giving P100,000 to avoid having the license of his ship suspended. /jpv