ROXAS City – A purok leader pawned the government-issued automated teller machine (ATM) cards of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries in Barangay Libas.
One of the 4Ps beneficiaries reported to the police that Alma Perlas was using their ATMs as collateral for thousands of pesos worth of loan without their consent.
None of the beneficiaries knew where Perlas currently is. They heard their purok leader has gone into hiding in Manila and was preparing for an overseas trip but they were unable to verify this.
A woman who runs a lending business accepting ATMs as security revealed that Perlas pawned the 4Ps ATM cards to her.
Perlas borrowed P17,000 cash to pay for her child’s hospitalization and handed over nine ATM cards as security sometime in March, Jovy Anisco of Barangay Culasi said Wednesday.
Anisco said she knew the practice was wrong but accepted the collaterals anyway as Perlas made her believe the ATM card owners knew what she was doing.
Perlas “handed me the ATM cards along with the PIN (personal identification number) for each,” Anisco said in Hiligaynon.
She knew Perlas was acting on her own when 4Ps beneficiaries stormed her house and demanded that she return their ATM cards.
Anisco refused to return the ATM cards until the beneficiaries agreed to charge to their balances the amount Perlas borrowed and the alleged 20-percent interest on top of that.
She said she withdrew from each of the 4Ps accounts amounts ranging from P1,000 to P3,000.
“It’s not true that the interest is 20 percent,” Anisco said without disclosing how much the actual interest is.
“Nagbulig lang ako, tapos amo pa ini ang matabo? Ang akon lang mahambal kay Alma Perlas: magpuli ka diri kag atubangon mo ni ang problema mo sa mga 4Ps,” she said.
A purok leader from another village, Barangay Dayao, who refused to be identified, said some 4Ps beneficiaries who do not know how to use ATMs would entrust their cards to their purok leaders.
“Perlas took advantage of them,” the Dayao purok leader said of the Libas 4Ps beneficiaries.
One of the 4Ps beneficiaries in Libas, 46-year-old Mary Grace Besana, reported Perlas to the Roxas City police station.
Panay News tried to reach Ruiz Urquico, 4Ps coordinator in the city and a project development officer in the Department of Social Welfare and Development, for comment but he has yet to respond to texts and phone calls as of this writing./PN