GOVERNMENT financial institutions allowed their borrowers to defer loan payments without penalty as a form of relief during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

In a statement Wednesday, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) President and CEO Emmanuel G. Herbosa said the DBP will observe a 60-day moratorium on amortization due on its EC Credit Salary Loan program for payments falling due between March 15 and April 12.

Mr. Herbosa said borrowers can defer their amortization payments without incurring interest, penalties and other charges.

The DBP’s EC Credit Salary Loan program is available to employees of government agencies and local government units. It offers loans of up to P1 million, payable up to 48 months.

Separately, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) suspended collection of March, April and May loan payments by members and pensioners, including those who availed of housing loans.

It said collection on loans will resume starting June 1.

“We hope that this 90-day grace period will give our members some financial relief in these trying times,” GSIS President and General Manager Rolando L. Macasaet was quoted as saying.

Mr. Macasaet said the GSIS also halted loan deductions on May pensions for GSIS retirees.

The government earlier ordered all lenders to grant at least a 30-day grace period on all loan payments that fall due within the enhanced community quarantine period.

The Social Security System (SSS) also extended to June 1 the payment deadline for monthly contributions of members and employers.

“Self-employed, voluntary, and non-working spouse members… can pay their SSS contributions for the applicable months of January, February and March 2020, or the first quarter of 2020 until June 1, 2020. On the other hand, regular and household employers have until June 1, 2020 to pay for their employee’s contributions from February to April May 2020 without incurring any penalties,” SSS President and CEO Aurora C. Ignacio said in a statement. — Beatrice M. Laforga