By J. Jala | 03:24 PM May 31, 2021
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian will seek an inquiry into the proliferation of loan sharks and other online lending schemes that are not under the supervision of local regulators amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an emailed statement, Gatchalian said his office continues to receive complaints from victims of online lending companies and lending applications.
The majority of the complaints claimed to have suffered various forms of grave threats, intimidation, and public shaming from debt collections.
“Dahil sa marahas na pamamaraan nila ng paniningil, may mga biktimang nabalitang nag-suicide at marami na rin umano ang nakararanas ng death threats,” he said.
“Magsilbing aral din sana ito sa mga naghahanap ng mapag-uutangan nang mabilis. Dapat marunong silang kumilatis kung kaduda-duda ang pamamaraan ng pagpapautang ng isang kumpanya,” he added.
Banks and financial institutions under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) are prohibited from employing “unfair collection practices.”
This includes the use of the threat of violence or criminal means, use of obscenities, disclosure of names failing to pay debts, threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken, false representation, and contacting the cardholder at unreasonable and inconvenient times.
Online lending victims appealed to Gatchalian to ask for immediate assistance.
In a petition online, they said there are a lot of Filipino people who have been victimized by online lending apps.
They said they suffered from humiliations, depression, and believed that their right to privacy has been compromised. There phone contacts has been utilized as collateral informing them about there debts without knowledge and consent to the borrower– falls under Republic Act No. 10173 (Data Privacy Act of 2012). They have been harassed and have been receiving numerous phone calls all day and have been receiving threatening messages everyday.
Some victims already filed a complaint before at National Privacy Commission (NPC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“We believe that this has been a known issue for many months and until now no evident action has been taken off to stop these online lending apps from sending unethical messages to all the borrower’s contact list. We hereby asking your good office that we may find assistance and justice against these heartless online lending apps,” the petition said.
All of the victims are still suffering from depression, emotional and mental stress, living in fear that one day there faces will be presented in all social media platforms as debtors and be scrutinized by people who don’t know the real story as they are only victims of these online lending apps.
Gatchalian was recently sought out by a group of some 20,000 complainants of various online lending companies and lending apps and who claimed to have been subjected to grave threats, intimidation, public-shaming, and other unfair and abusive debt collection practices.
Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 1366 which prohibits debt collectors from harassing or threatening the debtor and his or her family.