DSWD SAP SCAM: STARPAY (Part 2) Reply and Rebuttals

DSWD SAP SCAM: STARPAY (Part 2) Reply and Rebuttals

Leaving a Legacy by C. de los Angeles

As if in a coordinated attack both Starpay and DSWD issued their public statements late Monday, July 5 against Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Senator Manny Pacquiao, although appearing the underdog, one must always remember he won his greatest fights as an underdog. And as long as you are fighting for and with THE PEOPLE no matter how they attack you THE PEOPLE will always be with you.

Corruption is rampant in this country. Rigging of public biddings is common place. Yet these kind of corruption is tolerated because they feel it is a necessary part of doing business like a marketing expense. However, when it comes to stealing “ayuda”, aid or humanitarian relief funds that is a different story and THE PEOPLE truly get hurt. It takes a different kind of human being to be able to steal humanitarian aid meant for the people.

Continuing from my previous post, in Starpay’s press release they claim that they have a 100M paid up capital which is easily verifiable from the SEC but the document online from the SEC shows this: 

Paid up capital of 62,500. This is also from the SEC. 

In the press release of Starpay they used an estimate by saying the first tranche was ABOUT 1.6M beneficiaries to refute Senator Manny Pacquiao claim. Shouldn’t the company give more absolute figures since they have the records? This is an estimate and could mean any number close to 1.6M, 1.8M is close enough. Yet the number of 1.8M beneficiaries came from a DSWD press release which showed the following numbers:

“July 2020 – The Department has already pre-funded or transferred funds for the SAP of more than 4.8 million beneficiaries to its bank accounts and mother wallet accounts maintained by its partner FSPs. The number includes 1,286,551 families who will receive their subsidy from GCash; 337,768 from Paymaya; 682,639 from RCBC; 99,745 from Robinsons Bank; 1,890,263 from Starpay; and 537,668 from Unionbank. Some 50,459 will receive their SAP from Landbank of the Philippines.” 

But let us go back to the history of this transaction. Originally, Starpay was not included in DSWD’s list of FSP. It was only suppose to be Gcash, Paymaya and UnionBank. This actually makes more sense since they are larger and more established companies. However, Ramon Tulfo in his column in Manila times, Hocus-pocus in the 2nd tranche SAP distribution?, on June 27 last year incorrectly name drops Dennis Uy and that he forwarded the complaint to Senator Bong Go to put pressure on DSWD and its secretary Rolando Bautista to include this unknown E-wallet. In fact, Ramon Tulfo even quotes the DSWD Secretary’s text reply to Senator Bong Go:

“I am not aware of any money changing hands because it is the BSP who (sic) formulated the matrix for distribution which we intend to adopt because they have the expertise on this. I don’t know yet the content (sic) of the matrix. MoA (memorandum of agreement) was discussed yesterday with reps (representatives) of BSP, FSPs (financial service providers or outlets) and DSWD,” Bautista said in a text message to the office of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, to whom I referred the complaint by Starpay/USSC.

After Ramon Tulfo and Senator Bong Go’s interference Starpay was included in the list of  FSP’s for the SAP 2 distribution and they corned almost 50% of the beneficiaries as evidence by their own press statement.

In StarPay’s press release they claim “more than five million beneficiaries have been given cash air through its platform “in a very short period of time.”

It added that it has already liquidated the funds it received and refunded the amount for unserved beneficiaries to the DSWD, totalling to 8.239 billion.

Following the numbers of Starpay 5 million beneficiaries serviced plus the unserved 8 billion pesos. 8 billion divided by 6,000 ayuda you will get the number of beneficiaries of 1.3 million beneficiaries. So Starpay received about 6-7 million of beneficiaries.

If there were 14 million SAP 2 beneficiaries and Starpay received a total of 6-7 million beneficiaries that is half or almost half to one service provider and a much smaller company compared to the others.

Anti-Corruption and Good Governance advocate, Mr. Edwin Cordevilla of FLAG MAHARLIKA who plans to file plunder cases to those involved in the SAP of DSWD asked the right questions:

“Is Starpay bigger than GCASH, PAYMAYA, Union Bank, RCBC, and Robinsons bank?

Why entrust billions of pesos to this unknown company without a track record in the industry? Even a quick review in the google store will all the negative comments.

And at 6-7 million beneficiaries depending on the SAP amount (for our purposes lets use 6,000 pesos) will equal 36-42 billion pesos that is a lot to entrust to one company. 

In Starpay’s press statement they claimed to have a capital of 100M before getting a license. Even at 100M this is a pittance compared to the 36-42 billion or Senator Manny Pacquiao’s claim of 50 billions that was entrusted to this company.

Another issue which is not being highlighted is the service fee. At 50 pesos x 14 million people thats 700M. Last year there were several news stories of people complaining about this. 700M is not a joking matter, while businesses and people suffered in th pandemic they made 700M. Yet there are even more online complaints of people being charged more than 50 pesos which is a separate matter all together. 

Also would you believe DSWD and Starpay that of their 6-7 million beneficiaries only 500,000 had a smartphone and internet connectivity? Less than 10% of our country has internet or a smart cellphone? This is contrary to available data on smartphone usage and internet connectivity.

If DSWD allowed the manual payout through Mlhuiller and USSC why did not use the military which President Duterte ordered last year and DSWD personnel which they ended up doing anyway since this is at no cost to the government. The ayuda received by the people were deducted a service fee but if you can recall last year BSP instructed to waive interbank online transfer fees to help our country. Why are they being charged now?

These are just some of the growing list of questions our countrymen want answered and deserved answered as this is not private money but our money, the peoples money.”

The questions are mounting and scam is unravelling. Every citizen should be angry for those involved in stealing THE PEOPLE’S MONEY.

More to come. Stay tuned.

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