Press Release
November 11, 2013


Government financial institutions (GFIs) like the Government Service Insurance Syetem (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Pag-Ibig Fund, Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) should take the lead in voluntarily imposing a moratorium on the payment of debts for persons affected by calamities like the recent typhoon Yolanda, Senator Chiz Escudero today said.

"An immediate moratorium on the payment of debt and the imposition of interests, penalties and other similar charges on financial obligations of affected individuals in calamity-ravaged areas should be voluntarily taken by GFIs and private financial institutions now. We call on them in the spirit of "bayanihan" the senator said.

Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance said the same should also be extended to affected public corporations and local government units to jumpstart the work of rebuilding and rehabilitation in areas affected by typhoon Yolanda, the earthquake in Bohol and other areas hit by natural disasters.

He said he is also studying to ask the senate through a resolution to direct all financial institutions to undertake payment freeze to ease the burden of our countrymen affected by the successive severe calamities.

"We are studying if we can legislate this because it may impair the obligations of contracts between parties. But there was already a precedence wherein it was done by an Executive Issuance".

Escudero said after World War II, then President Sergio Osmena issued Executive Order No. 32 imposing a debt moratorium on those who suffered from the ravages of war. The condition at the time justified the act.

"Further studies on this are needed under the constitution. However, nothing prevents these financial institutions to act voluntarily and not merely directory in extending the direly needed helping hand so that our country men who lost their possessions, sources of livelihood and income and even their families and loved ones can rebuild their lives without being weighed down by even further financial woes".

He is also directing Insurance Commission to closely look into the viability of the insurance companies who were also hit by Yolanda and the earthquake in Bohol as well.

"As early as now the IC should ensure that the insurance companies can actually pay for the covered policies. The last thing we want to learn is that insurance companies cannot pay because of the big number of claimants".

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