DTI urges malls, comm’l establishments to lower rents for vendors

 Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has encouraged malls and commercial establishments to offer lower rents to tenants who are going to reopen their stalls and outlets.

Lopez made this appeal during the Question and Answer portion following the Pre-SONA Forum of the Economic and Infrastructure Cabinet Cluster, the first of three Pre-SONAs to the run-up of President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on July 27.

Vendors in malls and commercial establishments have closed their outlets during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), modified ECQ and even during General Community Quarantine but are slowly reopening with the easing of quarantine restrictions following the lowering of the quarantine levels in all parts of the country, except Cebu City.

Lopez also reported during the Pre-SONA Forum that mall owners voluntarily waived rental payments during the lockdown. Commercial establishments were also ordered to allow staggered/deferred rental payments of tenants, who were able to continue operating during the ECQ and modified EQC periods, to a six-month installment scheme.

“We enjoin that if they cannot waive the rent, perhaps they can lower the rent especially for those which are starting to reopen,” he said.

Meantime, Lopez said that DTI continued to help micro, small and medium enterprises to help them migrate into the digital platform. A total of 517,000 individuals have attended their various seminars in partnership with online marketplace platforms Lazada and Shopee.

Lopez also reported that 1,858 livelihood kits have been given to beneficiaries during the pandemic period.

SB Corp., the micro financing arm of the government, has also received over 23,000 applications for loans of which 1,994 been approved with P152 million-worth of loans have been processed. He expects that total loans applications would reach P500 million by middle of this month.

The P3 Program has already lent out worth P7 billion to micro enterprises since the program started under the Duterte administration.

 MSMEs are also given free rent space in some malls under the “Buy Local” and the OTOP Program, which has already given exposures to over 30,000 micro enterprises.

 There are also 1,130 Negosyo Centers with targets to have one per town. So far, the Negosyo Centers have helped 1.3 million MSMEs in their businesses. For DTI’s shared service facilities, Lopez reported that 2,569 SSFs have been installed and lent out to help products for agriculture products benefiting 1,605 beneficiaries, including producers of face masks sand face shields that can be sold online.