Pag-IBIG Fund mulls postponing increase in contributions

Published September 15, 2020, 7:32 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

In consideration of the plight of workers and businesses amid the pandemic, the Pag-IBIG Fund is considering to postpone its plan to increase decades-old monthly contributions of its members.

Secretary Eduardo 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 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,” del Rosario said. “We understand their plight and we want to help them in any way we can,” he added.

Del Rosario said that the Pag-IBIG officials are “studying the possible delay of the P50-increase in the members’ monthly savings right now.” This, he noted, is part of their contribution to the efforts of the administration of President Duterte to “alleviate the financial burden of our fellow Filipinos during these challenging times.”

In November last year, 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 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.

Del Rosario explained that 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, del Rosario said that 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,” he said.

Since the study and consultations were done in 2019, the Pag-IBIG Fund Management is being urged to renew consultations with stakeholders. “The continuing pandemic this 2020 has changed all that,” del Rosario said.

Meanwhile, Pag-IBIG Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy Moti said that they will start consulting stakeholders again in the coming weeks following del Rosario’s call.

“We will be in talks again with labor unions, non-government organizations and employer groups and we will consider their stand before we proceed,” Moti said. “It is important for us to consult them and hear their voices before we decide,” he added.

Moti noted that Pag-IBIG – as managers of the Filipino workers’ fund – needs “to consider the plight of our members and business owners during the pandemic.” He further added that agency’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, Moto noted that Pag-IBIG has more than enough funds to support the home loan needs of its 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,” Moti added.