Freeman Cebu Business

SEC: No mandatory grace period given for loan dues

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The Securities and Exchange Commission-Cebu Extension Office (SEC-CEO) has reminded financing companies, lending firms and microfinance NGOs (non-government organizations) and their borrowers that  no mandatory grace period is given for the payment of loans and/or interest that is due during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period starting March 29 to April 4, 2021.

This was clarified by the SEC-CEO officer-in-charge Alma Marie Dalena in a statement on Wednesday, March 31.

According to Dalena, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Republic Act 11469) enacted in March 2020 did not extend such privilege to the present ECQ implemented in Metro Manila and four of its neighboring provinces.

To recall, the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines issued on 2020 (with amendments as of March 28, 2021), allowed for lending, financing companies and microfinance NGOs to implement a 30-day mandatory grace period from March 17 to May 31, 2020.

However, the amended guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) did not issue a similar exemption to be applied in the present ECQ, Dalena clarified.

She instead urged the said firms to continue to implement debt relief measures to the borrowing public taking into consideration the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to the economy and the purse of the people.

Companies can always opt to lower their interest rates, issue a waiver or reduce penalties, charges and other fees, impose payment holiday, debt consolidation, give flexible payment schedule, among other measures in order to lessen the burden of the public, the SEC-Cebu official said.

Borrowers can also request for relief from lending, financing firms and microfinance NGOs, she said.

Dalena added the Commission and other concerned regulatory bodies have given these firms prudential and regulatory relief measures for them to also survive in this pandemic and continue their services to the public and businesses.

 “We are also closely monitoring these companies on their measures in order to sustain their operations and how we can assist them,” Dalena said.

On March 27, the IATF placed Metro Manila and the adjacent provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna on an ECQ status following the rise of Covid-19 cases.

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