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Loan payment grace period applies to areas not under ECQ —DOF chief

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Friday said that the mandatory 30-day grace period for all loans falling due within the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) still applies in areas with relaxed measures.

This after President Rodrigo Duterte extended the ECQ in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Benguet, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Albay, and Catanduanes.

“If there are areas still under ECQ then the loan payment grace period will still apply. It doesn't matter where [the] ECQ is implemented,” Dominguez said.

“ECQ period is intended as reference to determine payment due dates that will qualify for application of mandatory grace period,” he said.

The Finance chief said the policy is consistent with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' previous comment “where we said it applies even in Cebu/Davao notwithstanding ECQ is declared then only in Luzon.”

For four provinces —Tarlac, Benguet, Pangasinan, and Zambales —the quarantine status may change by April 30.

Duterte also placed some areas in Visayas and Mindanao under ECQ but subject to reassessment: Antique, Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Cebu, Cebu City, Davao del Norte, Davao City and Davao de Oro.

Meanwhile, several regions, provinces or areas which are considered moderate- and low-risk in the spread of COVID-19 will be placed under a general community quarantine starting on May 1.

On April 1, the Department of Finance issued the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the 30-day mandatory grace period of all loans falling due within the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

The IRR serves as the guidelines for the implementation of Section 4(aa) of Republic Act No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”

Under the said section of the law, bank, quasi-banks, financing firms, lending companies, and other financial institutions both private and public including the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, and Pag-IBIG Fund were directed to implement a 30-day minimum grace period for the payment of all loans.

The loans include, but are not limited to salary, personal, housing, and motor vehicle loans, as well as credit card payments falling due within the period of enhanced community quarantine — March 17 to April 13 — “without incurring interests, penalties, fees, or other charges.”

The IRR, likewise, stated that the initial 30-day grace period shall automatically be extended if the enhanced community quarantine period is extended by the President pursuant to his emergency powers under the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.” —LDF, GMA News