By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The Department of Education (DepEd) has urged private lending institutions (PLIs) not to charge any penalties, fines, or surcharges to its personnel due to the challenges brought about by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla, in a general letter to private entities, said that “delays are anticipated on the processing and releasing of remittances with regard to the payment of loan obligations of concerned borrowers due to the strict implementation of home quarantine in all households and work-from-home arrangement in the Executive Branch.”
The DepEd noted that under paragraph 4.7.3 of the Terms and Conditions of the APDS Accreditation (TCAA), the Lender/Entity shall not charge penalties, fines, surcharges due to delays of payments, for failure of the DepEd to remit on time due to errors, inadvertence, force majeure, or any extreme circumstance, among others.
It also encouraged all APDS-accredited PLIs to not impose additional interest due to the said delays on the release of remittances on loans consistent with Regulatory Relief Package to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Supervised Financial Institutions Primer or BSP Memorandum No. M-2020-008 regarding the BSP’s action on COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the leadership of Secretary Leonor Briones, DepEd has also explored various ways to assist its personnel amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Upon clearance from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), DepEd is set to issue the Php 6,000 clothing allowance for regular employees, and the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 for school-based personnel.
Sevilla noted that DepEd is also eyeing to provide additional funds for the DepEd Provident Loan Fund. “These funds will assist regional offices with urgent, critical, and immediate responses related to COVID-19 threats and in support of affected personnel,” she said.