THE workers’ shelter fund, Pag-IBIG, may put on hold the plan to raise the decades-old monthly contributions of its members in consideration of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and labor.
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 Management of Pag-IBIG Fund to consult stakeholders again to discuss the possibility of delaying the January 2021 implementation of the P50-increase to the agency’s decades-old 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 the staggered increase of the members’ monthly savings from P100 to P150 by January 2021, and to P200 by January 2023. The approved increases also apply to their employers’ share.
Both labor and employer groups expressed stupport 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 had 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,” del Rosario said.
He continued: “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.”
Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti, meanwhile, said they will start consulting stakeholders again in the coming weeks following del Rosario’s call. “We will be in talks again with labor unions, nongovernment organizations and employer groups and we will consider their stand before we proceed. It is important for us to consult them and hear their voices before we decide. As managers of the Filipino workers’ fund, we need to consider the plight of our members and business owners during the pandemic,” Moti said.
He added that, “Pag-IBIG Fund’s strong financial position allows us to consider delaying the increase in our members’ monthly savings. At the current monthly savings rate of P100, in addition to our housing and short-term loan payment collections, we have more than enough funds to support the home loan needs of our members. We would like to assure our members and stakeholders that we remain true to our commitment to serve them, especially amid the challenges we are facing today.”