Governor Arthur Yap said that his government is not at fault in the proliferation of the REPA investment scam that duped Boholanos of an estimated P1 billion, saying that investors chose to fall prey to scammers.
The REPA scam has lured over a thousand unwitting investors including Boholanos trying to survive the economic impact of the pandemic, which Yap had earlier admitted to have left 200,000 individuals in the province jobless or with diminished livelihood.
“Di nato ma-control kung kinsa ang mo apil sa mga scam. Decision naman sa taw kung gusto nila magpailad dili man kita,” Yap said during his weekly press briefing on Friday last week.
Yap issued the statement in response to a point earlier raised by former vice governor Julius Herrera that the REPA Paluwagan and other investment scams tarnished “Bohol’s image.”
Herrera likened the effects of the REPA scam to the aftermath of the 2013 Earthquake and the entry of an Abu Sayyaf bandit unit into the province in 2017.
He also lamented that the government took action only after many have already fallen prey to the investment scam.
“Ang nakapait ana, nga naigo man ta sa tanang klase na scam, dili na mo buto unless tanan or daghan na gyud ang mabiktima,” Herrera said in an earlier interview over station dyRD.
According to Yap, the government has offered sufficient assistance to the REPA victims after the scam was exposed.
However, Yap admitted that when the provincial government tasked various agencies to look into the alleged Ponzi scheme, over a thousand Boholanos have already been victimized and accumulated an estimated P1 billion in claims.
“Sa sitwasyon na nahibaw-an nato na nagkaproblema na ang mga Bol-anon, niabot na og almost mga P1 billion ang mga claims, nitabangan naman ta,” Yap said.
The governor added that the Capitol along with various law enforcement agencies assisted in the filing of complaints against the REPA administrators and in trying to recover the victims’ investments.
On October 12, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed that REPA or REPA Paluwagan is an unregistered entity that is not authorized to solicit investments.
The SEC “strongly” advised the public to avoid or stop investing with REPA whose activities were deemed illegal due to its administrators’ selling of investment contracts using the Ponzi scheme, which is not a “registrable” security.