Due to the increasing number of reports received and endorsed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) – Office of Cybercrime (OOC) involving unfair debt collection practices and cyber harassment committed by online lending companies (OLCs), the DOJ-OOC issued a Public Advisory dated 23 April 2021 enumerating the acts that would qualify as unfair debt collection practices and cyber harassment, and the corresponding violations that victims may file before the appropriate government agencies.
In particular, the acts complained of include the following, among others:
(a) Accessing the debtors’ phone book/contacts’ list for purposes of sending them messages in the event of untimely and/or non-payment;
(b) Posting the debtors’ personal and sensitive personal information online for purposes of shaming them;
(c) Threatening debtors with death and physical injuries if they fail to settle their account balances; and
(d) Using profane language through text message directly sent to the debtors and to the debtors’ references for purposes of shaming them.
The abovementioned acts are violations of the following laws, and rules and regulations:
(b) R.A. No. 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012, punishing the Unauthorized Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information, Processing of Personal Information and Sensitive Personal Information for Unauthorized Purposes, and Malicious Disclosure;
(d) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Memorandum Circular No. 18, series of 2019, entitled, Prohibition on Unfair Debt Collection Practices of Financing Companies and Lending Companies.
Further, in view of the unfair debt collection practices and cyber harassments committed by the OLCs, victims may institute the necessary action/s against the OLCs and proceed accordingly to the respective Offices of which their action may belong to, to wit:
(1) before the National Privacy Commission (NPC), for violations of R.A. No. 10173, or the Data Privacy Act of 2012;
(2) before the Office of the Prosecutor, the National Bureau of Investigation–Cybercrime Division (NBI-CCD), or the Philippine National Police—Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), for violations of R.A. No. 10175 and the Revised Penal Code; and
(3) before the SEC, if the act/s is/are committed by a lending or financing company.
To combat or prevent the further commission of unfair debt collection practices and cyber harassments, the DOJ-OOC also encourages the public to report erring OLCs to the NBI-CCD, PNP-ACG, NPC, and the SEC.
 Section 4(a)(1), R.A. No. 10175.
 Section 4(c)(4), R.A. No. 10175.
 Section 25, R.A. No. 10173.
 Section 28, R.A. No. 10173.
 Section 31, R.A. No. 10173.
 Article 282, Revised Penal Code.
 Article 283, Revised Penal Code.
 Article 286, Revised Penal Code.
 Article 287, Revised Penal Code.
 Article 287, paragraph 2, Revised Penal Code.