Thursday, August 2, 2007

When Pag-IBIG does not mean love

I applied for a salary loan from the Home Development Mutual Fund, otherwise known as the Pag-IBIG Fund, and I still haven't been approved. The loan amount is based on a percentage of the total contribution amount. So I thought I can loan a big amount because I have been working for 7 years already. When I got the quote from them, I was baffled because they said that I have only 13 months worth of contributions in their records. Then I thought to myself, but this only equivalent to the length of time that I've been with my current employer!

It turned out that my contributions have not yet been consolidated at the time I applied, which was a whole month ago. You see, I used to work in the Quezon City area before so all my contributions were directed to the QC branch. Now that I am working in Makati City, my contributions go to the Makati City branch. So I had to request for a transfer of records in order that my previous contributions would be added to my current contributions and the processing is taking so long. In short, the Pag-IBIG Fund does not have a centralized system for their members' contributions. This also means that every time anyone moves to a different place of work, he or she has to request for a transfer of records. This is a great hassle for the members and at the same time, a great way for the government to amass "lost" members' money. Not too many Filipinos know that they can use the Pag-IBIG fund for salary loans and also only a few Filipinos ever apply for a housing loan with Pag-IBIG. They just treat their Pag-IBIG contributions as if they were taxes, i.e. money they give to the government which they will never see bear any fruit, so they don't keep track of it. To be honest, I don't even know what my Pag-IBIG account number is. Even the idea of borrowing from my own contributions, at a high interest rate, gets lost on me. I mean, how can that be called a benefit? We work hard, we contribute to the nation's economy, and we lose our hard-earned money through these supposedly beneficial government instrument. Where is the love* there?

The Filipino translation for the word love is pag-ibig or pagmamahal. Now you know.

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