Debtors are being shamed and threatened by online loan app operators for failing to pay their loans on time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Emil Sumangil’s report on “24 Oras,” one of them is Liza, who faced a money shortage when the pandemic hit.
“Ano ako single parent, so kailangan ko that time is pandagdag ng tuition,” Liza, not her real name, said.
Her P4,000 loan was immediately approved. However, when she tried to negotiate with the loan operator, she was threatened with being made viral online.
“Nung due date ko na sabi ko pwede ko bang partial muna. Doon na siya nag-start na, ma’am hindi puwede. Kapag hindi mo finull payment ‘yan til 5 p.m., iva-viral ka namin,” she said.
Liza lamented the operator’s actions and asked for more consideration amid the pandemic.
“Dinamay niya kasi ‘yung mga pamangkin ko, which is sila ‘yung mga contact reference ko. Nilagay na niya as scammer ganyan, scammer alert, if makikita niyo paki-ano na lang sa police station,” she said.
“Sabi ko bakit ganito sila. Alam niyo naman po na pandemic ngayon bakit ayaw niyo magkaroon ng kaunting consideration,” she added.
Janine, a medical frontliner in Bukidnon, also asked for a loan from an online lending app when her child was hospitalized.
When her payment was delayed, the operator commented on her Facebook posts to ask for payment as well as to shame her.
“Humihingi ako ng extension o kung ano ba ang puwede kong gawin, para hindi naman bultuhang bayad. Kasi previously, na-admit ang anak ko kaya nag-overdue ako,” Janine said.
“Eh, hindi maintindihan, pinagloloko ko raw sila. ‘Wag ko raw sila bibigyan ng ganyang rason, kasi hindi sila naniniwala. Hinarass nila ako, pinagmumura nila ako,” she added.
Meanwhile, loan operators threatened Joy, a bank executive, that they will report her to her bosses if she failed to pay.
“Since ako po nagtra-trabaho po as frontliner, syempre, natatakot din po ako na mawalan ng trabaho ‘pag malaman ng company. Sana po mapasara na lang po ‘yun para wala na mabiktima,” she said.
According to the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), individuals who shame others online may face charges in accordance with the law.
“Iwasan po natin ‘yung pamamahiya sa iba’t ibang online platforms natin. Puwede tayong maging liable diyan, depende sa gravity ng post o remarks na ipo-post natin against sa mga nakautang sa atin,” PNP-ACG chief Police Lieutenant Janice Nacial said.
The National Privacy Commission, meanwhile, said that the threatening texts must be preserved as proof.
“Itong mga nakakapanirang mga text at nakakapanakot na mga text ay kailangan mai-preserve ’tong mga ebidensya na ito. Pangalawa, ‘yan po ay puwede n’yong idulog sa amin at magreklamo,” Commissioner Ramon Liboro said. — Joahna Lei Casilao/BM, GMA News