BUSINESS GROUPS are asking the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) to waive penalties for companies that were not able to remit employee savings within the past two years.

Three business groups wrote a letter to Pag-IBIG Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy P. Moti to ask for a “penalty condonation” to help industries recover from the effects of the pandemic.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECoP) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) in the letter dated Sept. 9 also asked for a longer payment plan to settle outstanding obligations.

The groups said they are hoping for assistance following a “myriad of burdens” they are facing during the public health crisis. They said 35,049 establishments have filed for closure since 2020, displacing over 700,000 workers.

“While we also recognize that majority of business owners were affected in the recent years, we humbly ask consideration from your office to extend the same to businesses who may still have outstanding penalties due for payment to Pag-IBIG prior 2020,” they said.

“Doing so may help keep our businesses afloat during these trying times.”

Pag-IBIG in a statement said that it “values feedback from its stakeholders, including employer-groups like ECoP.”

“We shall take their requests under serious consideration in our further study and review of our policies on penalty condonation. ECoP and the community of Filipino employers can rely on Pag-IBIG Fund for support.”

Pag-IBIG Fund last year gave employers more time to remit employee contributions and short-term loans due during the first lockdowns.

The state-run organization also offered grace periods on loan payments last year, and then initiated a loan restructuring program deferring and lowering payments for housing loan borrowers.

The letter was signed by PCCI Acting President Edgardo G. Lacson, ECoP President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr., and Philexport Chairman George T. Barcelon. — Jenina P. Ibañez