Go urges financial institutions to ease policies amid Covid-19
By Jose Cielito Reganit
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Thursday called on both public and private financial institutions to relax their policies on loans while the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“I am appealing to all government and privately owned banks, quasi-banks, credit and lending facilities, financial institutions and the like — for the benefit of all Filipinos, please do not increase interest rates for consumer and commercial loans while we are all still under enhanced community quarantine,” Go said in a statement.
He likewise encouraged all financial institutions to come up with “flexible and convenient restructuring of existing loans” to enable their clients to pay their arrears at a later period and at a lower amount.
“In this time of national crisis, everybody must sacrifice for the greater good. Huwag po natin mas pahirapan pa ang taumbayan (We must not add to the sufferings of our countrymen),” Go said.
Go’s appeal is in line with Republic Act No. 11469, or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” that President Rodrigo Duterte signed Wednesday.
The measure authorizes the President to exercise powers that are necessary for addressing the Covid-19 situation in the country.
Go said one of the temporary emergency measures that the President may adopt is to direct financial institutions to implement a grace period of at least 30 days for the payment of all loans without incurring interests, penalties, fees, and other charges.
The covered loans include salary, personal, housing, and motor vehicle loans, as well as credit card payments, falling due within the period of the enhanced community quarantine.
Interests, penalties, fees or other charges will be waived, and persons with multiple loans shall also be given the minimum 30-day grace period for every loan.
“Kailangan po ‘yun, ‘yung palugit. Bigyan muna natin sila (mga Pilipino) ng palugit. Mahihirapan po silang magbayad sa ngayon dahil walang trabaho, walang negosyo. Hindi po umiikot ‘yung negosyo sa panahong ito,” Go said.
(The grace period is needed. Let us give Filipinos a grace period for the time being. They will find it difficult to pay their loans for now because there is no work, no business. Business is at a standstill at this time.)
He also called on both government and the private sector to work together and do what may be deemed necessary to address and respond to the growing threats of Covid-19, and the socio-economic impact that comes with it.
“We appeal to everyone’s cooperation and compassion. Magbayanihan po tayo. Tulungan nating bumangon ang bawat Pilipino bilang isang nagkakaisang bansa (Let us practice the bayanihan spirit. As a united country, let us help each Filipino to rise). Together, we can heal as one,” Go said. (PNA)