Swindlers, Thieves Hurt Local Jewelry Industry

Manila Bulletin, January 10, 2014 | Go to article overview

Swindlers, Thieves Hurt Local Jewelry Industry


Jewelers are tightening controls to stop the prevalence of syndicated swindling in the industry and thieving among precious metal setters (plateros) that caused them millions of pesos in losses.

The Confederation of Philippine Jewelers Inc., which is composed of 7 major jewelry associations in the country, has even called on the Department of Trade and Industry to help minimize the incidence after 12 jewelry houses in Metro Manila allegedly lost over P200 million to swindlers.

Renato Florencio, former president of the Guild of Philippine Jewelers, said the industry was coordinating with the DTI to come up with a scheme that would address the problem, similar to what was created to help the construction sector under the Philippine Construction Association to address the same issue.

"Swindling is endemic in this industry but it has worsened that we now need to act fast and as group with the help of the government," Florencio said. There are at least three to four pending cases with the court already.

Florencio explained that these illegal activities - swindling and thieving - have been inherent in the jewelry industry because jewelers tend to just let go of the offenders in the hope of finally regaining their precious jewelries or come up with a settlement.

It is also doubly hard for jewelers to run after swindlers because these are mostly persons they have trusted for a long time already, but have been tempted to divert the money for other purposes like expanding their other businesses.

"Jewelry business is based on relationship, jewelers trust their agents or alaheras, who in turn has sub-agents," he said. Some agents just sell the jewelries to pawnshops and some would sell at 46 percent cheaper in exchange for quick bucks.

This time, however, Florencio said members of the confederation have agreed to file estafa cases as a group against offenders. For instance, a case has been filed with the fiscal's office against a religious businesswoman for allegedly hoodwinked 12 jewelry houses, including his own, for P200 million. …

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