MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday appealed to landlords and banks to help small businesses bounce back from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Nananawagan po ako sa ating mga lessors – nananawagan po ako sa ating mga lessors: malasakit at bayanihan po sana ang pairalin natin ngayon (I am calling on our lessors – I am calling on our lessors, be fair and have compassion during these times). This is not the time to drive away lessees,” Duterte said In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City, adding that it is during this critical time that everyone needs to be more understanding.
Duterte assured all micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that the government will intensify efforts to help businesses in the country.
He requested commercial establishments to “give grace period to allow deferment of payments especially for MSMEs that they are forced to close during the quarantine period”.
He said responsive government assistance and services, which include capitalization and business operations support will be given to the MSMEs as the country moves to adapt to the “new normal”.
Duterte said now, more than ever, is the time to be fair and compassionate.
”Come up with an amenable arrangement with your tenants. Huwag po natin silang ipagtabuyan, tanggalan ng tubig, kuryente, at bubong (Let’s not drive them away, turn off their water and electricity services or even the roof under their heads),” he said.
During the start of the pandemic, the small and medium businesses were among the first ones hard-hit by Covid-19 when the entire Luzon was placed under lockdown.
MSMEs were forced to close their establishments for several months.
As early as April, Duterte already made an appeal to lessors, even saying that he will “go against the law” to protect these tenants.
Duterte requested owners of these commercial establishments to extend grace periods and allow deferred payments, most especially for the MSMEs that were forced to close down during the quarantine period. “Let us help them recover,” he said. Marita Moaje /PNA – northboundasia.com