Bangko Sentral 'advises' banks to give debt relief as part of COVID-19 response


Posted at Mar 16 2020 08:37 AM | Updated as of Mar 16 2020 09:15 AM

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MANILA -- Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said Monday the central bank "advised" lenders to give debt relief to borrowers to help them cope with the coronavirus disease outbreak.

Philippine banks are "well capitalized and stable and can absorb some of this relief in the meantime," Diokno said Monday, the second day of a Metro Manila-wide community quarantine that will last until April 14.

Banks have to apply for relief for industries that are hardest hit by pandemic -- airlines, malls, restaurants, bars, convention centers, transportation. The Bangko Sentral will "favorably consider" such applications, he said.

"We shall have to take into account the serious spread of COVID-19, the consensus is that things will get worse before it gets better," he said.

Asked if the relief would cover those with personal, auto and home loans, Diokno said: "Depending on the action the banks, they can actually provide moratorium from the payments and ask for relief from the BSP."

Diokno said banks were also advised to waive charges for online transactions, with many people advised to work from home as Metro Manila observes a one-month-long community quarantine.