MANILA - At least 20,712 members were able to acquire their own homes as home loan releases reached P20.94 billion in the first quarter of 2021 despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Pag-IBIG Fund said.
The total is P5.77 billion or 33 percent higher compared to the P15.77 billion released during the same period last year, Pag-IBIG Fund said in a statement.
"We are happy to report that our home loan releases in the first three months of 2021 have increased compared to the same period last year," said Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario, who heads the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and the 11-member Pag-IBIG Fund Board of Trustees.
This means "more Filipino workers are being helped by Pag-IBIG Fund to secure their own homes, which is very important at this time of pandemic," Del Rosario added.
Out of the total amount, P2.2 billion were released as socialized home loans for the benefit of 5,074 Pag-IBIG Fund members in the minimum-wage and low-income categories, the statement said.
Releases still increased compared to the period before the pandemic quarantine measures were imposed, said Pag-IBIG FUnd CEO Acmad Rizaldy Moti.
The agency released P15.49 billion in home loans from January 1 to March 15 this year, up 3.7 percent or by P546.97 million compared to P14.94 billion in the same period last year, he said.
Moti added that last December, loan releases reached P12 billion, the highest amount released for a single month in the fund's history.
The number is likely to rise further as the economy continues to reopen, he said.
"We are glad that our momentum in the last quarter of
2020 carried over to first quarter of 2021, despite the challenges caused by the pandemic," Moti said.
"We anticipate that our momentum will continue in the succeeding quarters, barring any major catastrophic event, so we help more members become homeowners,” he added.
Filipinos working and studying from homes also now have more time to renovate and fix their homes.
Sales of home improvement products have also seen a surge this year, with items such as storage solutions and 3D wallpapers among the top items purchased during the last 4.4 sale event, according to an e-commerce platform.
The work-from-home set-up also prompted home renovations as early as last year, a home improvement center has said.