Just months after “pera padala” company Palawan Pawnshop implemented a ridiculous policy that involves asking highly sensitive infoprmation from their customers, rights group called Privacy is Freedom Philippines (PFP), said Palawan Pawnshop has violated the privacy of at least 5,000 Filipino customers, and an identified number of foreign customers who made business transactions with their Philippine counterparts.
According to PFP Secretary General Atty. Julius Tombaga, the company allegedly forwarded the personal information of thousands of their customers to a Makati-based online dating site.
“Palawan handpicked these people because it is aware about their personal circumstances. These people, especially the males, have been allegedly sending money to their mistresses or girlfriends, and some are payments made for walkers (slang for hostess). Palawan knows it as they ask every customer what is the money for”, Tumbaga said.
The company’s policy in asking the purpose of money has met with critics, especially the PFP which is against the freedom of information bill.
“Privacy is freedom and if your privacy has been violated then you are not free”, Tumbaga added.
The name and website address of the dating site was not revealed but Tumbaga said they are preparing to file a series of legal complaints on behalf of the concerned individuals.
PFP said that from January to April (first quarter of 2018), Palawan has forwarded more than 5,000 names to the dating site. The people whose names were included are allegedly involved in third party relationships based on their reasons when they send money to their partners, and Palawan allegedly collected the data on purpose.
“So kung magpapadala ka sa Palawan at tinanong ka kung para saan ang pera, sabihin mo na lang na bayad sa binili mong kung anu-ano”, a Palawan customer in Alabang said.
“Yong iba naman sa sobrang yamot, pag tinanong kung para saan ang pera, sinasabi sa kabit”, a Palawan employee who refused to reveal her name said.
PFP warned that this is just the start of the bigger problem and that the company should stop asking ridiculous personal information from their customers.
Tumbaga also added that the data from Palawan also says more than 5,000 married men send an average of P1,350 a month to women not related to them, and at least 320 women send an average of P1,500 a month to men not related to them. There were also at least 460 foreign men send an average of $200 (P10,000) to Filipina women with no specific business connections – all transactions happened from January to April, 2018.
“A company giving personal information of its customers to another company for whatever business benefit is a serious case”, Tumbaga said.