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Thousands flock to UPLB in hopes of Marcos money

The event at University of the Philippines Los Baños happened on Saturday, September 23 after massive protests were staged in Manila on September 21—the day the country marked the 45th anniversary of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ military rule, which was tainted by corruption and various human rights violations. Image is a screenshot of a tweet by UPLB Perspective of the crowd that flocked to the campus.

MANILA, Philippines — Thousands of people, many of whom holding booklets about late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, flocked to the University of the Philippines' Los Baños campus on Saturday, prompting authorities to reroute traffic due to congestion.

The event at UPLB happened after massive protests were staged in Manila on September 21—the day the country marked the 45th anniversary of Marcos’ military rule, which was tainted by corruption and various human rights violations.

A report by UPLB Perspective, the school’s official student publication, people from CALABARZON and other neighboring provinces in Luzon claimed they were “promised” to receive money for a “Marcos event.”

Booklets on “the Life and Achievements of Ferdinand Marcos” were also handed out to the attendees, the campus publication reported, adding that the gathering was organized by “Bullion Buyer Ltd.”

UPLB Perspective also said the permit for the event was given to a certain "One Social Family Credit Cooperative." 

“Mahirap man kayo o mayaman basta may booklet, kayo ay entitled to 1 million each... Yung iba pinilit pa para pumirma, ayaw maniwala scam daw ito, pero hindi totoo na scam ito,” the organizers addressing the crowd were quoted as saying by UPLB's student publication.

“Yung mga nakinig na scam daw ito, wala dito, sinong nawalan? Edi sila. Andaming naniniwala sa fake, kaya kayo basahin niyo ang mga libro... Lahat ng umattend at may tatak sa booklet ay priority natin sa cash advance,” the organizers added.

"We the members of OSFCC (One Social Family Credit Cooperative) formerly known as Bullion Buyer Limited, express our deepest gratitude to implement your program to the Filipino.”

People started to assemble at the university's "Freedom Park" as early as 3 a.m., UPLB student council chair Charmane Jay Maranan said in a text message to Philstar.com. Maranan also said the permit was granted by the school's Department of Human Kinetics "as an event for a cooperative."

The Marcos event, in turn, was met with protests by students in the afternoon.

In a statement, Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias, vice chancellor for academic affairs, said: “Chancellor approved in the past many sectoral groups... such as the lumads, peasants, [boy] scouts, sports events, plus others from communities to use UPLB grounds as community sharing.”

'Pure scam'

In a statement, former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. distanced his family from the event at UPLB, which he said was a "scam."

"Wala po kaming kinalaman sa pagtitipon na ito na malinaw na isang scam. Uulitin ko po, ito ay isang malinaw na panloloko / scam," he said.

"Paulit-ulit ko na pong binalaan ang publiko na huwag magpapadala sa mga ganitong klase ng panloloko na ang intensyon lamang ay para sa kanilang personal na interes. Ang pagtitipon sa UPLB ay isa na namang ehemplo ng ganyang panloloko," he added.

In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Bullion Buyer Ltd. was not registered with the commission after it received reports that the entity had organized groups in Baguio City.

“Those recruited are asked to pay thirty pesos (php30.00) in exchange for receiving TEN THOUSAND PESOS (php10,000.00) per month through their Landbank ATM accounts for four (4) years and eleven (11) months starting February 2017.  This also entitles them to a grant of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (php500,000.00) for livelihood programs,” SEC said.

“There being no primary license, it is not authorized to solicit investments which require a secondary license as provided under Sec. 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code,” it added.

In a report dated Feb. 6, 2017, news agency SunStar said two women were arrested in Pangasinan for “enticing” people to join Bullion Buyer Ltd. by promising them a share of the late strongman’s wealth.

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