By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez reiterated that the 30-day grace period in the payments for residential and commercial rents still has not changed, and still applies to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) not permitted to operate during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
The DTI also issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 20-31, s. 2020 on 4 June 2020 to clarify certain provisions in the earlier released supplemental guidelines of MC 20-12, particularly stressing that the grace period on rents are covered under the ECQ, the Modified ECQ (MECQ), and the General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
“As we slowly transition to the new normal, we need to ensure the survival of businesses during these difficult times and in the months beyond the lifting of the quarantine,” Lopez said.
In the spirit of goodwill, generosity, and fair play, lessors of commercial spaces are also enjoined in the new MC to adopt any of the following: totally or partially waive the commercial rents that are falling due during the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ; grant reprieve or a reduction in the amount of rent due in the months following the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ; open for renegotiation the Lease Term Agreements with the lessees; and use other recourse to mitigate the impact of the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ to the MSMEs.
The trade chief reiterated his call to all lessors to continue to support and provide relief to MSMEs in anticipation of the slow restarting of the economy. He added that MSMEs currently employ 70% of the workforce and emphasized the need to ensure the survival of these businesses during the crisis, as well as protect the jobs it has created for millions of Filipinos.
“These guidelines will help our countrymen in the wake of the restrictions imposed during the Community Quarantines (CQ) that have severely affected businesses, especially MSMEs,” Lopez said.
According to the guidelines, the grant by the lessor of a minimum 30-day grace period for residential rent shall commence from the last due date or from the lifting of the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ, whichever is longer.
For commercial rents falling due upon MSMEs and sectors not permitted to operate during the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ, the minimum 30-day grace period shall likewise be from the last due date or from the lifting of the ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ, whichever is longer.
Tenants also have the option to pay the cumulative amount of residential and commercial rents stated above in installments—equally amortized in six (6) months following the end of the 30-day minimum grace period—with the requirement of a promissory note or letter addressed to the landlord or land owner.
All unpaid rents during the CQs shall not incur interests, penalties, fees, and other charges.
No eviction for failure to pay the residential or commercial rent may be enforced during the quarantine period. However, lessors are not obliged to refund residential and commercial rents paid by the lessees before or during the period of the community quarantine.
The complete amended supplemental guidelines on the concession of residential and commercial rents can be accessed thru: https://bit.ly/DTI_MC2031.