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Pag-IBIG delays premium hike sked

Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG is postponing the scheduled January 2021 increase in members’ monthly premium to 2022.

Pag-IBIG made the decision after consultations with labor and employer groups and “in consideration of the plight of both workers and business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In a statement, Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, who heads the 11-member Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees, said that the agency has approved the recommendation of the Pag-IBIG Fund Management to defer the hike in the monthly contributions of its members – from P100 to P150 beginning 2021, and move the implementation by one year to January 2022.

Likewise, the deferment applies to the share of their employers.

“We know that many of our members and employers faced financial challenges in the last few months because of the effects brought about by the pandemic to the economy.

After consulting with our stakeholders, we will no longer push through with the increase of the members’ monthly contributions next year. This is in line with the efforts of the administration of President Duterte to alleviate the financial burden of our fellow Filipinos and help businesses recover,” Del Rosario said.

In 2019, agency officials approved the increase of its members’ monthly contributions, which had remained unchanged since the 1980s.

According to Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy Moti, it was projected at that time that the amount of loans disbursed will eventually outpace the total collections from both loan payments and members’ contributions each year.

“So, we proposed to increase the monthly savings by P50 to have enough funds to answer the growing demand and maintain the low rates of our loans. However, with the pandemic reaching our country, the circumstances have changed. Rest assured, our financial position remains strong and that has allowed us to defer the increase in our monthly contributions by a year. What we are focused on right now is providing our members and businesses the assistance they need to cope with the effects of the pandemic,” Moti said.

He added that while the pandemic has dampened demand for home loans early in the year, availment has been rising steadily since quarantine restrictions were eased.

“While demand has not been what it was in previous years, we are already noticing the increasing number of availment, signaling that our economy has started to recover. So far, we have released P44.16 billion in home loans this year, allowing 43,733 members to have their own homes,” Moti said.

For October alone, Pag-IBIG has released P7.7 billion in home loans.

“This equals our pre-pandemic monthly takeout target for October and we take this as a hopeful sign that we are getting back on track. We assure our members that we will continue serving them especially during these difficult times,” Moti said. —LBG, GMA News