THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the rent deferment grace period for commercial and residential tenants in force during the original enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) now applies to the extended lockdown as well, covering payments due for the period to April 30.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez told DZMM on Wednesday that the grace period will last for 30 days from the last payment due date within the extended lockdown. The sum of all payments due within the lockdown may be paid over six months.
“Dahil na-extend ‘yung ECQ, kung ano ‘yung amount dun pagsasamahin (Because the ECQ was extended, the amount due for the extended period will also be covered by the grace period),” he said.
The Luzon-wide lockdown to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was initially set to end on April 12, but was extended to April 30.
The DTI in a memorandum on April 4 said residential rents and commercial rents of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) falling due within the ECQ will have a grace period of 30 days.
Lessors who do not observe the 30-day grace period face imprisonment of at least two months and/or a fine of at least P10,000.
Mr. Lopez said in an interview with DZBB Wednesday that beyond the grace period, malls that have voluntarily waived rent for shops that have closed due to the lockdown may also extend their waivers accordingly.
“Voluntary ‘yun sa mga malls ulit kung pagbibigyan na nila ‘yung dalawang linggo na ito kasi sarado naman ‘yung negosyo (Rent waivers are voluntary for malls, and it’s up to them if they will forego rent for the extra two weeks, since the shops remain closed),” he said.
DTI in mid-March urged mall operators and commercial landlords to waive rent during the ECQ.
Major mall operators like SM Group, Ayala Malls, Megaworld Corp., Robinsons Land Corp. and Ortigas & Co., have announced they will waive rent for all tenants in their shopping malls that are not able to operate until April 14.
The malls have not yet announced whether their rent waivers will be extended.
“While we await new guidelines from the national government, the Ayala group will continue to take care of its employees as a priority and extend support as much as we can to our partners and communities through collaborative efforts,” Ayala Corp. Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said in a statement. — Jenina P. Ibañez