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More online lenders face probe

Rico Osmeña

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The Philippines makes history as it hosts the 52nd APPA Forum in Cebu. After having engaged in closed-door sessions, NPC representatives and international delegates joined together in a photo of solidarity. This marks the commitment to continue the alliance of member states in strengthening privacy regulations across the region.

At least 26 online lending companies operating in the county are now being investigated by the National Privacy Commission (NPC) for “dubious” online lending applications.

This was disclosed yesterday during the 52nd Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) Forum in Cebu, where 19 nations privacy commissioners were present.

NPC Commissioner Raymund Enriquez Liboro said, “Instances of unauthorized use of data, similar to complaints received by the NPC about online lenders, are beginning to crop up elsewhere in the region, and other privacy authorities are keen on hearing about how what we have learned and how they may deal with similar challenges, During the formal sessions, delegates will meet in closed-door sessions to discuss policy directions as well as explore best practices, emerging technologies, trends and threats to privacy ,and what concerned actions privacy authorities may do to address these concerns.”

The NPC received 23 formal complaints on record related to online lending in January 2019. The numbers steadily climbed during the first quarter. The NPC went public on the issue in May when complaints further rose. This signaled that more victims were previously unaware they can seek NPC’s assistance.

The number of complaints peaked in September to a high of 300+. It was on that first week when NPC issued an order on Fynamics Lending Inc., Unipeso lending company, and Fcash Global Lending Inc.

The NPC has coordinated with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and the Department of Trade and Industry and Fin-Tech organizations to check on more online lending firms, that have been the subject of complaints,
Atty. Jose Belarmino II, the NPC’s officer-in-charge-executive director said that NPC is not letting up on the matter. “We continue to hold marathon hearings to resolve each filed complaint the soonest time possible, given our resources. The decrease in new cases, however, is a welcome development. It is an indication that people are definitely becoming mindful about protecting personal data and upholding privacy rights.”

After the September peak, the number of fresh formal complaints regarding online lenders immediately declined in October.

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