MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe has sought a probe into abusive and illegal practices of debt collectors in the Philippines, her office announced on Sunday, March 4.
In a statement, Poe said debt collectors engaging in unfair practices “must be punished to put an end to their prevalent abusive behavior and protect consumers.”
Poe called for a probe through Senate Resolution 655 filed on February 22, and directed to the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies. The investigation is supposed to tackle the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10870 or the Philippine Credit Card Industry Regulation Act of 2016.
Why investigate? Poe’s office has received complaints that collecting agencies “continue to harass borrowers in a threatening and offensive move to collect money” on behalf of issuing banks.
Poe enumerated the following as the “most notorious” and “crooked” ways of collecting debt:
- Threatening the debtor about a case filed in court
- Using barangay (village) officials or men in uniform to force a borrower to pay
- Intruding into debtors’ homes to collect money
- Smearing the name of the debtor by calling his or her employer
- Bombarding the debtor with text messages
- Claiming the debtor has a hold departure order
How collection should be done: RA 10870 mandates that issuing banks can only use “all reasonable and legally permissible means” to collect debt.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the country’s central bank, earlier issued Circular 454 in 2004, which said banks cannot engage in unfair collection practices like those that Poe mentioned. – Rappler.com
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