File photo of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian will seek an inquiry into the proliferation of loan sharks and other online lending schemes of some companies not under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The move is aimed at studying remedial legislation to address possible gaps in the existing policies being enforced by government regulating bodies and other concerned agencies following the emergence of online cash loan services of unlicensed lenders, according to Gatchalian, adding that the BSP should advise the public not to transact with these types of predatory lending.

“Dahil sa marahas na pamamaraan nila ng paniningil, may mga biktimang nabalitang nag-suicide at marami na rin umano ang nakararanas ng (Due to vicious way of billing, some victims have been reported to have committed suicide and many are also allegedly experiencing) death threats,” Gatchalian said in a news release on Sunday.

Gatchalian, vice chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions and Currencies, also warned those who are looking for a quick loan.

“Dapat marunong silang kumilatis kung kaduda-duda ang pamamaraan ng pagpapautang ng isang kumpanya (They should be able to analyze if a company’s lending method is questionable),” he said.

Gatchalian said his office continues to receive complaints from victims of online lending companies and lending apps, the majority of them claiming to have suffered various forms of grave threats, intimidation, and public-shaming from debt collectors.

In December last year, the SEC revoked the certificate of authority of online firm Super Cash Lending Corp. after it was found to have engaged in unfair debt collection practices while the National Privacy Commission (NPC) last February recommended the prosecution of Fynamics Lending Inc., the operator of the PondoPeso online lending app for harassing and public-shaming delinquent borrowers and for violating the data privacy law.

Gatchalian already sought the enactment of the proposed Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Under his proposed Senate Bill1366, Gatchalian seeks to prohibit debt collectors from harassing or threatening the debtor and his or her family with death or physical injuries, inflict harm on the debtor’s reputation or give misleading claims that non-payment of debt will result to arrest, imprisonment, garnishment or sale of any property.

Creditors and debt collectors are also barred from accessing personal information of the debtor without the consent of the concerned person, he said.