OFFICIALS of Pag-IBIG Fund recently said they may put on hold a plan to raise the decades-old monthly contributions of its members in consideration of the plight of workers and businesses amid the pandemic.
Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario, who heads the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the 11-member Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees, has instructed the Pag-IBIG Fund management to consult stakeholders again to discuss the possibility of delaying the January 2021 implementation of the P50-increase on the agency’s P100 monthly contributions or savings.
“We recognize that a number of our members and several businesses are experiencing financial hardships brought about by COVID-19. We understand their plight and we want to help them in any way we can. That’s why we are studying the possible delay of the P50-increase in the members’ monthly savings right now. This is our contribution to the efforts of the administration of President Duterte to alleviate the financial burden of our fellow Filipinos during these challenging times,” said Del Rosario.
In November 2019, the Pag-IBIG Fund Board approved a staggered increase of the members’ monthly savings to P150 from P100 by January 2021, and to P200 by January 2023. The approved increases also apply to their employers’ share. Both labor and employer groups expressed support for the move as Pag-IBIG Fund officials held months of public consultations before approving the increase. Stakeholders took note that Pag-IBIG Fund contributions remained unchanged for three decades already.
“The adjustments in members’ monthly savings were meant to provide the necessary additional funds to sustain the growing demand for housing. In the last five years, the demand for Pag-IBIG Fund housing loans steadily grew at an average rate of 17.5 percent annually. We expected then, that raising the monthly savings gradually by P50 will infuse more funds so that Pag-IBIG can continue to offer the lowest rates in the market and help more members acquire homes of their own. But again, the study and consultations were done in 2019. The continuing pandemic this 2020 has changed all that. So I urged the Pag-IBIG Fund Management to renew consultations with our stakeholders,” Del Rosario explained.
Pag-IBIG Fund chief executive officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti said they will start consulting labor unions, non-government organizations and employer groups stakeholders in the coming weeks.
Moti also said Pag-IBIG Fund’s “strong financial position” allows the agency to consider delaying the increase.