Students from areas hit by calamities, disasters, or other emergencies, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, will be excused from paying their loans if the measure filed by Senator Lito Lapid is passed into law.
Lapid said Wednesday Senate Bill 975 would defer the collection of all fees, charges, and costs relating to student loan programs for both Higher Education and Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for a reasonable period during the existence of hardship and difficulties, such as disasters, calamities, and other emergencies.
“Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nawalan ng trabaho at pagkukuhanan ng kita dahil sa mga kalamidad gaya ng lindol, bagyo, at nitong huli lang, dahil sa pandemya. Kaya sinusulong ko ang panukalang batas na ito upang mabawasan ang pasanin ng mga magulang na nagpapaaral ng kanilang mga anak sa mga pagkakataong tinamaan sila ng sakuna o pandemya (Many of our countrymen have lost their jobs and sources of income due to such calamities as earthquakes, typhoons, and just recently, the pandemic. I am pushing for this bill to ease the burden of parents who are sending their children to school during times of disaster or pandemic),” he said in a statement.
Lapid said the bill aims to contribute to the social welfare mission of extending economic assistance and protection to the poor who bear the risk of not being able to survive with continued work, economic activity, and mobility restrictions.
“Dapat lang na bigyan ng karampatang tulong at proteksyon ng ating gobyerno ang ating mga kababayan nating nangangailangan, lalo na ang mga nahihirapang magkaroon ng sapat na kita dahil sa mga mobility restrictions (It is only appropriate that the government give aid and protection to our countrymen who are in need, especially the ones who are struggling to earn enough because of mobility restrictions),” he added.
Lapid's proposed moratorium covers the period from the declaration of a national and local State of Calamity or Emergency up to 30 days from the termination thereof.
In case this period exceeds a total of 60 days, the payment of the student loan and related fees would be further deferred until the next semester or term.
The enrollment or graduation eligibility of the student will likewise be protected if the moratorium would be availed of.
The lawmaker pledged to try his best to push for Senate Bill 975 as soon as possible to help students affected by the pandemic through its retroactive application for the moratorium
Source: Philippines News Agency