THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it is deferring the collection of rent, utilities, and processing fees in its public economic zones to cushion the impact of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) on locators.

PEZA in a statement Thursday said a memorandum circular 2020-023 issued on April 18 authorizes the deferment of rent for locators in public ecozones for April and May. The deferment period is 90 days from the due date. PEZA will not charge interest or penalties during the grace period.

Payment for public ecozone utilities, including electricity, water, and wastewater treatment, will be deferred for 30 days with no interest or penalties.

Unpaid 2020 accounts up to the portion of March before the ECQ was implemented, have a payment grace period of 90 days.

PEZA processing fees have also been deferred by 15 days after the ECQ is lifted. This includes letters of authority (LoAs), building permits, and visa processing, among others.

This only applies to LoA and visa transactions paid at the PEZA headquarters in Taguig City, since applicants at private ecozones may pay for these transactions within their ecozone locations.

PEZA said the measures comply with its Assistance and Reprieves Planning Group’s business continuity scheme for after the ECQ. The ECQ is expected to end on April 30.

The Department of Trade and Industry had issued a memorandum implementing a minimum 30 days’ grace period for residential rent and commercial rent for micro, small, and medium-sized (MSME) enterprises that ceased operations during the ECQ. This applies to rent due within the extended ECQ.

“There are various ways in which we can start anew after the ECQ period. My PEZA team and I are already looking into various plans for PEZA to take once the ECQ is lifted,” PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza said.

“For now, we are doing our best to attend to the needs of our registered enterprises and to help the government and our people as we find a solution to this problem.” — Jenina P. Ibañez