MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told lessors of commercial establishments to abide by the mandatory 30-day grace period on rents during the nationwide community quarantine.
In a public address aired on state-run PTV-4, Duterte said commercial landlords should be more considerate to their tenants, especially to those who are financially incapable to pay the rental fees due to the crisis driven by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Actually, I am at a loss really to explain to you how but you know when you collect from somebody who is not earning at all, it’s practically flogging a dead horse,” he said. “So that seems to me a problem but I would like to appeal to the owners of the building of the malls.”
Duterte issued the appeal as he lamented that some owners of commercial buildings like malls, bazaars, and big stores are still compelling their lessees to pay at least 50 percent of the rental fee “even if they are not operating.”
He said it was unacceptable for landlords to force their tenants to pay rentals before the expiration of the 30-day grace period.
“That is what’s happening. If they are not earning, where will they get the 50 percent to pay if not the 100 percent that you’d want to collect?” Duterte said.
Lessors are mandated to comply with the 30-day grace period for commercial rents that fall within the duration of the community quarantine to give respite to their tenants who have temporarily ceased operations due to Covid-19 outbreak, based on Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act and the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Memorandum Circular 20-12 series of 2020.
Commercial landlords are required to grant the grace period without incurring interests, penalties, fees and other charges.
Some small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have reportedly sought additional assistance from the government like utility subsidies and lower rental fees.
Earlier, the DTI allocated PHP1 billion for a loan program for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to help them cope with the Covid-19 crisis.
The DTI had also asked state banks to grant PHP30 billion as loan funds for MSMEs. (PNA)