Governor Arthur Yap has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to direct the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to allow banks and other financial institutions to implement a yearlong loan collection moratorium and to offer debt restructuring for those in the transport sector which has been heavily hit by the pandemic.
Yap in a press conference on Monday said that he wrote a letter to Duterte pleading for the case of those in the transportation industry and asking for a debt collection moratorium that would last for one year starting when the General Community Quarantine is lifted in Bohol.
“Of course nagpasalamat ta sa Bayanihan We Heal as One Act na gitagaan ang mga negosyante ng possible two months na grace period, pero human ana, on the third month ang pangutana ‘mo balik na ba ang mga negosyo?’ No. Mao on the third month, kung pugson nato na magbayad na ang mga transport sector members, sigurado they will go bankrupt,” he said.
Yap who was once the chair of the House of Representatives’ economic affairs committee said that the move would benefit transportation industry stakeholders in the entire country, not just in Bohol.
The initiative is seen to save including those in the tourist transport sector from further financial burden as the national tourism industry remained practically closed.
According to the governor, his proposal has gained support from both the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 and the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), a formal organization of all the provinces in the Philippines represented by the their governors.
The RDC 7 and LPP expressed their support through Resolution No. 21 and Resolution No. 2020-010, respectively.
However, Yap noted that the initiative’s approval would ultimately need the President’s backing.
“I took the occasion to ask the President’s support because only he can talk and make a strong case with the BSP to allow banks to restructure the loans,” he said.
Restructuring without considerations from the government would lead to the classification of their debts as “failed loans” and to penalties for the borrowers.
There are 35 transport groups in Bohol including 458 filcabs, 349 GT Express units, 258 mini-buses and buses and 816 public utility jeeps.
Also under the sector are 578 tourist vans, coasters and buses.
Both agriculture and tourism are two of Bohol’s main industries, but the latter is still slumping due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The global health crisis has caused travel restrictions the world over due to governments’ efforts to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease. (with rt)