IT COULD still be a merry Christmas for those struggling to keep their homes amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

The Home Development Mutual Fund, better known as the Pag-ibig Fund, gives housing loan borrowers in default of their loan payments the chance to avoid foreclosure on their homes under the Special Housing Loan Restructuring 2 program running only until Dec. 31, 2021.

Those who apply for the program would have the penalties waived on the unpaid monthly amortization of their Pag-ibig Fund housing loan, a chance to lengthen the payment term of the loan and lower the monthly payments, and more importantly, avoid foreclosure on the home.

Eligible for the program are Pag-ibig Fund housing loan borrowers who have missed payments for more than three months; who are active members, defined as having at least one membership savings paid within the six months prior to the application date; and whose accounts are not foreclosed or cancelled.

Interested borrowers may apply for the program online via Virtual Pag-ibig or through physical submission of requirements at any Pag-ibig Fund branch.

The Pag-ibig Fund posted net income of P16.11 billion in the first half of 2021, up 14 percent from the same period last year, despite the challenges posed amid the lingering pandemic.

Pag-ibig said its earnings were mainly driven by its housing and short-term cash loans, as well as trading gains.

In the first six months of this year, Pag-ibig released 43,573 home loans nationwide, of which 24 percent were socialized housing loans extended to members from the minimum-wage and low-income sectors.

The 43,573 home loans amounted to a record P44.34 billion, more than double the P20.80 billion the Pag-ibig Fund released in the same six-month period in 2020.

The amount was also higher than the pre-pandemic level of P37.07 billion in home loans released during the same period in 2019.

In a statement, Pag-ibig Fund Chief Executive Officer Acmad Rizaldy Moti said members would benefit from the agency’s robust performance, as the fund is mandated to return at least 70 percent of its annual net income to members in the form of dividends that are credited to their savings. (CTL)