The Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) said it expects loan approvals of as much as P6 billion in September after a shortfall during the two-week return to a stricter form of quarantine in August.

“We are confident na babalik na s’ya level na tipong P5-6 billion, if not P7 billion (We are confident that it will return to the level of around P5-6 billion, if not P7 billion),” Pag- IBIG Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti said at an online briefing Friday. He described the push to issue loans as an aid to economic recovery in the next two years.

Mr. Moti said loans granted in January and February averaged P6 billion, but fell to P3 billion in March after the declaration of the lockdown. The low point was P800 million in April.

Tumaas ito nung June, umakyat sa almost P3 billion. Nung July umakyat to almost P5 billion,” he said. (It increased in June, up to P3 billion. In July, it rose to almost P5 billion)

Pabalik na sana tayo kaso nitong August ay nagkaron ng two weeks na MECQ (Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine) kaya bumaba ulit.” (We expected a recovery, but we were in MECQ for two weeks in August so it went back down.) The Luzon lockdown started in March and led to the suspension of work, classes and public transportation.

Restrictions in Metro Manila were gradually lifted in June, but were re-imposed for two weeks in August to arrest the increase in the number of cases.

Mr. Moti said Pag-IBIG implemented a three-month loan moratorium after the quarantine started, which was availed of by some 300,000 members.

A 60-day grace period on loan payments will be implemented, once President Rodrigo R. Duterte signs the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan II) legislation.

Sa madaling salita, okay pa ang mga myembro, may mga dumudulas, na hindi nakakabayad religiously, pero ang Pag-IBIG ay naghahanap ng pamamaraan para matulungan.” (In other words, our members are all right, some are slipping in their payments, but Pag-IBIG is looking at ways it can help)

Bayanihan II forms part of the government’s stimulus plan to recover from the crisis brought by the pandemic. It will grant up to P165 billion assistance to various hard-hit sectors. — Charmaine A. Tadalan