Price freeze, debt moratorium remain under extended state of calamity, Palace assures

Malacañang said the distribution of calamity funds, implementation of price freeze on basic commodities, and the moratorium on the payment of loans in financial institutions remain as President Duterte extended the declaration of a state of calamity in the entire country for another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (RESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, however, said that the moratorium on loan payments will only be given a 60-day extension as stated under the Bayanihan To Recover As One (Bayanihan 2) Act.

"Tuluy-tuloy po iyan. Pero lilinawin ko po, doon sa Bayanihan 2, binigyan po tayo 60 days na extension at ito naman po ay dapat bayaran din ‘no (The prize freeze, calamity funds, and loan payment moratoriums will remain. However, the Bayanihan 2 gives us only a 60-day extension but we should still pay them)," he said over State-run PTV-4.

"Hindi po ibig sabihin na kakalimutan na po iyong mga pagkakautang, binigyan lang po tayo ng breathing space kumbaga. At pupuwedeng bayaran po iyan ng ‘gives’ na wala pong interes (It doesn't mean that we should forget our loans. We were just given a breathing space. You can pay your loans in installment without interest)," he added.

The Bayanihan 2 seeks to provide a stimulus package to those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law allots P13 billion to those who were rendered jobless by the crisis.

Meanwhile, P140 billion will be for those who want to start their own business. This will be implemented by the Departments of Labor and Employment (DoLE), Agriculture (DA), and Trade and Industry (DTI).

Duterte extended the state of calamity in the entire Philippines until Sept. 12, 2021 last Friday. Based on Proclamation No. 1021, the national state of calamity will be effective "unless earlier lifted or extended as circumstances may warrant."

He first declared a national state of calamity last March 17, two days after the Metro Manila lockdown started.