BAUKO, Mountain Province– The municipal government recently ordered a total ban on the entry of alleged unscrupulous 5-6 lenders in the municipality to prevent them hoodwinking residents into borrowing huge sums of money from the loan sharks with high interests beyond their capacity to pay the borrowed amount.
Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said that it has come to the attention of the municipal inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that 5-6 lenders from the neighboring town of Buguias, Benguet, had been frequenting the different barangays to collect from their debtors or to sell appliances through the so-called peddling style where the prices of the same are allegedly exorbitant.
He pointed that the 5-6 lenders do not possess the appropriate permits or licenses from the regulatory agencies and the municipal government which is in violation of the Lending Regulatory Act of 2007, that mandates that no lending company shall conduct business unless an authority to operate has been granted to the same by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Under the said law, violators shall be fined P50,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years, or both, at the discretion of the court.
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Mayor Akilit explained it is not the imposition of high interest rates per se that makes the lending activity illegal as there is no law which prohibits the same, but it is the act of doing lending business without the required permit that makes the 5-6 lenders criminally liable.
According to him, Executive Order No. 7, series of 2020, suspended travelling merchant activities still exists in view of the nature of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic, thus, the aforesaid individuals are not allowed to roam around the municipality, conduct business house-to-house, store-to-store, among other related activities, as they are allegedly potential carriers of the deadly virus that might result to the local transmission of the illness to the residents.
The municipal mayor called on the residents of the town’s 22 barangays to avail of the financial services being offered by relevant government agencies, cooperatives, and banking institutions, to avoid the exorbitant interest rates charged by the loan sharks.
He ordered barangay officials and law enforcers to ensure there will be no 5-6 lenders roaming around the municipality offering loans to residents to prevent the possible spread of the deadly virus in the municipality.
Bauko is one of the few municipalities in the province that remain COVID-free because of the stringent implementation of community quarantine rules, especially in restricting people from moving in and out of their residences for over four and a half months now.
Akilit reminded the barangay officials and law enforcers to effect the arrest of the unscrupulous 5-6 lenders who will violate the standing order and for them to appropriately charge them to teach them a lesson.
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