Readers speak of real life experiences
BIZLINKS - Rey Gamboa (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2019 - 12:00am

We feature today two readers and their reaction to past columns. The first one comes from Mary Rose Alhambra who had been victimized by a credit card scammer, albeit a small amount, but felt more cheated because of the time she had to spend to get back the money that was stolen from her. Please read on.

“Your article on Philippine STAR dated May 9, on (OTPs and card scams) is so true. I just want to share my  experience.

“I always get a SMS notification from my credit card company (Citibank) every time I use my credit card (CC). The text will come after a few seconds or minutes after the transaction had been processed.

“This feature is what caught my attention when my CC was used fraudulently because I got a notification of a purchase made using my CC from an online store that I do not even visit. 

“It’s a very small amount – less than P200 actually. My first instinct was to just ignore it or just pay it when the bill becomes due because of the hassle of calling the credit card hotline or customer contact center. (Sometimes waiting to talk to a customer service agent will take so long that you will just hang up or give up.)

“What alarmed me was that if my CC can be used to make a small purchase, then next time, it could be a bigger purchase. I immediately called the contact center and I patiently stayed on the line until I got to talk to a customer service agent/rep.

Call center traffic

“I complained that I got a SMS notification of a purchase made on my credit card that I did not make. After validating my identity that I was really the owner of the CC, I agreed with the agent to cancel my credit card and a replacement card would be issued.

“She informed me that this measure is being undertaken because they have many complaints of similar incidents, and the small amount could have been just a trial to see if the transaction will push through, and when it does, then a bigger purchase could be made next time.

“That is one problem solved: future disaster on my CC finances averted. However, for the fraudulent CC transaction to be reversed or cancelled from my billing, I was informed to call again when I get my SOA [Statement of Account].

“Now, when you call the CC hotline, a long-winded automated message will greet you, giving you instructions on what to do and if you want to actually talk to a representative, your wait can be long or longer than 30 minutes in some instances. Di lang pala sa EDSA traffic, pati sa mga call centers na rin.  

“Thank you sir, for writing this article. Newspaper articles in this digital age save us time researching or browsing the web for news like this.”

Agri support failures

This next letter-sender is Maria Lourdes Silva who reacted to our column discussing the need for the agricultural sector to have competent management. Here’s what she had to say:

“Upon reading your column re: above subject, I was disheartened by what is the real situation in our agri sector. I am presently the city agriculturist of Lipa City, and I can say that the AFMA [Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act] is a failure because the machineries being fabricated by PhilMech [Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization] are sub-standard.

“You can personally interview our farmer associations who were beneficiaries of [the DA’s] mechanization program, like our coffee famers, and even those farmers who were recipients of other farm equipment.

“Sad to say, the machineries and equipment do not meet the standard specs, like for example, the coffee huller fabricated by PhilMech, even the greenhouses issued by [the Department of Agriculture (DA)] (National through Region 4-A).

“The plastics used were of low quality, hence, it was totally destroyed during a low intensity level typhoon that struck our province last year. The solar dryers were of poor quality and specs were not met.

“We submitted a report to the concerned person at DA Region 4-A, but the response was wait-and-see, although for some of our concerns they sent somebody to look into the problem, but still no solution until now and the usual pinpointing on whose responsibility.

“Imagine, our government is spending hundred of million pesos and no improvement in this sector.

Unrealistic credit requirements

“Another division of the agriculture department that is also contributing to farmers’ low production is the ACPC [Agricultural Credit Policy Council] where hundreds and millions of dollars were granted by WB for loan to our farmers.

“But the requirements imposed by WB are really hard for our small farmers. Hence, only a handful of our famers, (maybe not small, because the requirements needed are really hard for them) are able to produce.

“The ACPC people told us that they still have a big amount ready for farmers to avail of [under] the loan program, and there is still a big amount of money (again) coming from WB as grant for the said program.

“Why keep on accepting this so called ‘grant’ when we the tax payers pay for this and the purpose for which is a failure?

“We need somebody in the DA who really knows the problems, and that may be from those who rose from the ranks.”

Facebook and Twitter

We are actively using two social networking websites to reach out more often and even interact with and engage our readers, friends and colleagues in the various areas of interest that I tackle in my column. Please like us on and follow us on

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at For a compilation of previous articles, visit

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with