Lapid Bill wants moratorium on student loan payment during disasters, emergencies

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Sen Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed a bill which seeks to provide moratorium on student loans and debts during times of disasters and emergencies like the COVID 19 pandemic currently faced by our country.

Sen. Lapid through this measure wants to provide adequate relief and protection to those students and families suffering from the ravages of calamities and other emergency situations. For this reason, the Senator pushes to defer the collection of student loans for a reasonable period during the existence of hardship and difficulty such as disasters and calamities.

Senate Bill number 1538 proposes to put moratorium on the enforcement of payment of all fees, charges and costs relating to the student loan programs for Higher Education and Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET). This will cover loans administered by the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) or by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) or any other government agency and instrumentality.

“Sa panahon ng kalamidad, disaster o emergency gaya na lamang ng nararanasan nating COVID 10 pandemic, milyun-milyong Pilipino ang walang kita. Karaniwang ang prayoridad ng ating mga kababayan sa ganitong mga panahon ay pambili ng pagkain, gamot at pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan. Habang ang mga gastusin sa edukasyon gaya ng tuition o iba pang bayarin sa paaralan ay isasantabi na muna ng ilang pamilya dahil wala na silang natitirang salapi para dito. Kaya sa pamamagitan ng paglalagay ng moratorium sa students loans ay makakatulong tayo para maisalba kahit papaano ang edukasyon ng ating mga kabataan,” Lapid said.

The moratorium covers the period the declaration of a national and local State of Calamity or Emergency up to thirty (30) days from the termination of thereof. Meanwhile, if the covered period exceeds a total of 60 days , the payment of the fees, charges and coasts shall be further deferred until the end of the next academic semester or term.

If passed into law, the moratorium on student loans will be implemented during disasters and other kinds of emergencies which are national in scope, as declared through a State of Calamity or State of National Emergency by the President of the Philippines, and provincial, city or municipal in scope, as declared through a State of Calamity or Emergency by the appropriate local government unit.

The bill also cites that the enrollment or graduation eligibility of the student is protected even if the moratorium would be availed of. The bill also mandates the retroactive application of the moratorium to students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“HIndi natin mapipigil ang pagdating ng kalamidad o disaster sa ating bansa at walang may gusto nito, pero ang tanging magagawa na lamang natin ay tulungan lalo na ang ating mahihirap na kababayan na hindi lamang makaahon kundi masiguro na ang kanilang mga anak ay tuloy ang pag-aaral at huwag muna nilang problemahin ang loans at utang sa kanilang eskwelahan, ” Lapid added.

Through this measure, the student loan liabilities are temporarily eased off from the minds of disaster-stricken families as they focus more on the more basic and essential daily expenses. SENATE.GOV.PH