Lawmaker wants student loan payments suspended during calamities, emergencies
MANILA, Philippines — A Quezon City representative is pushing for the suspension of student loan payments in times of calamities and emergencies in order to help families cope with more pressing needs.
The city’s 1st District Rep. Arjo Atayde said in a statement Friday said his House Bill No. 7279 calls for the deferment of payment of all fees, charges, and costs related to student loans and technical-vocational training institutions like the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UNIFAST) in areas hit by calamities and emergencies.
He said he filed his bill last February 21.
“We have to find a way to help our students and their families, when natural or even these man-made calamities hit them hard. We just have to make everything easy for them including a moratorium on the payment of student loans,” he said.
“It is a burden on a student and their family especially in difficult times like (the) aftermath of typhoon, fire, and earthquakes, among other disasters,” he added.
If enacted, the bill’s beneficiaries will include students residing in areas under a state of calamity or emergency, who are enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), and both private and public higher educational institutions and technical vocational institutes.
It also provides that moratorium on student loan payments will be effective for the duration of the state of calamity or emergency, and even for 30 days after such a declaration is lifted.
Moreover, House Bill No. 7279 states that no penalties would be charged for payments deferred due to the state of emergency or calamity declaration.
“To provide adequate relief and protection to our students in times of calamities and emergencies, this measure shall allow the deferral of student loan collections for a reasonable period during and after the onset of disasters,” Atayde said.
“The proposed legislation doesn’t prevent public and private HEIs from implementing more favorable forms of payment relief or assistance to students affected by disasters, prohibiting students from voluntarily waiving the moratorium on student loan payments, or availing subsidies and assistance from the government,” he added.
A similar bill was filed during the 18th Congress by Senator Lito Lapid, covering students under the same circumstances. But it failed to secure the approval of Congress due to time constraints.
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