PFA Lauds DTI’s Support in MSME Call for Rental Relief

Published October 11, 2020, 8:29 AM

by Edgard Hilario

In the advent of small and medium businesses rushing into digitalization, everybody needs all the support they can get from various sectors.

And the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), which is serious in its bid to help members and even online businesses, commended the swift action of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Association’s call for flexible rental arrangements for MSME tenants in commercial buildings. The Trade Department recently released a letter signed by Secretary Ramon Lopez requesting landlords to provide rental relief to their MSME tenants.

The pandemic has restricted many businesses in keeping their investments, and spaces, most of them even relying on online orders and deliveries to survive.

PFA Chairman Emeritus Samie Lim

“MSMEs are the backbone of our economy,” the letter said, “During this time of the pandemic, MSMEs also serve as a frontliners in the country’s road to economic recovery.” It cited figures from a presentation of PFA Chairman Emeritus Samie Lim during a press briefing which said that 70,000 franchise outlets may close down if these are not given an opportunity to survive.

It noted that if their current tenants close down, it will take some time to get the right tenant mix that will attract customers. The letter suggested that landlords work with their current tenants and help them survive towards the quick rebound of the country’s economy.

“Let us not kill the goose that has been laying golden eggs for our economy,” the said letter appealed.

“We thank Secretary Mon Lopez for issuing this letter,” said PFA Chairman Richard Sanz, ”which we hope will make these landlords consider the plight of their MSME tenants, which have been severely affected by the business slow down brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He noted that rental relief can come in the form of rent-free periods especially during the times when these tenants were forced to close; rental reduction and other flexible arrangements that are relevant to the times.

Mr. Lim, meanwhile, remarked, “we understand that we all have financial obligations but we are now in a different world which require new ways of doing things. We need to think as one nation so that we can recover as one; so that we can rise as one.”

PFA President Sherill Quintana added, “majority of PFA members are MSMEs just like my company. We know the difficulties that they are facing but we also believe that PFA is home of the country’s most trusted franchise brands and we have the potential to recover quickly from this pandemic and become an important contributor to the economy once again. But we need the support of the government and the private sectors.”