Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian is proposing a bill that would criminalize abusive practices on debt collection.
Filed as Senate Bill 2287, or the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act, the bill wants to empower financial institutions of the Philippine government in protecting financial consumers.
In filing the bill, Gatchalian remarked how many lending companies have resorted to abusive behavior and act in pursuing debtors. These acts, according to the lawmaker, include infringement of data privacy and cyber harassment.
He also noted how the pandemic brought the rise of frauds and scams that exploit individuals who are struggling financially. In 2020, there have been 15,015 complaints received by the Consumer Empowerment of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, a significant 63.3-percent increase versus the complaints submitted in 2019.
Under SB 2287, violators will face a maximum of five years of jail time and Php2 million fine. Financial regulators will also be authorized to pursue civil action on the financial consumers’ behalf.