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House OKs bill on financial relief during calamities

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House of Representatives recently approved on second reading a measure seeks to provide financial relief to persons living in an area declared under a state of calamity.

Principally authored by Parañaque City Rep. Eric Olivarez, House Bill No. 9082 or the “Financial Relief in Times of Calamities Act,” intends to grant persons a grace period of 60 days from cessation of the disaster in areas declared under the state of calamity.

The measure provides calamity and disaster victims more time to have to pay the utility bills which have fallen due during the time the area has been declared under state of calamity.

“Each person needs to start from scratch to get back a little of what they used to have,” said Olivarez.

The proposed legislation grants individuals a six month-moratorium on the principal payments, accrual and collection of interests, obligations of any kind from public or private financial institutions in areas declared under state of calamity.

Under the bill, grace period refers to the period during which payment is allowed to be received for a certain period of time after actual due date. During this period, no late fees are charged and the late payment shall not result in default or cancellation of the loan.

Olivarez stressed that it was understandable for those affected people to prioritize obligations and responsibilities.

“The need to eat and find shelter after a typhoon or an earthquake which wiped out everything a person or a family has, is of course always the main concern. Then the other responsibilities follow after that,” said Olivarez.

He stressed that it was the obligation of the State to help everyone affected by such calamities and reduce their burden as much as possible.