BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Residential and commercial property owners in Bacolod City are urged to grant lessees, especially the micro, small and medium sized enterprise (SME) tenants a moratorium during the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
The resolution, authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., is requesting property owners to defer suspension of rentals without penalties, interest and amortization of payment of arrears until December 31, to help lessees, especially SMEs, recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 quarantine measures.
On September 7, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management on Emerging Infectious Diseases issued Resolution No. 69-A, placing Bacolod City under MECQ status from Sept. 8 to 30, it said.
The resolution said that under MECQ, residents are required to observe home quarantine, while mass gathering is limited to five persons, and public transportations are suspended.
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 11494, or “An Act Providing for Covid Response and Recovery Interventions and Providing Mechanisms to Accelerate the Recovery and Bolster the Resiliency of the Philippine Economy”, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sept. 11 provides a minimum of 30-day grace period on residential and commercial rents of lessees to be reckoned from the date of filing of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) or MECQ, it said.
It further provides that all amounts due within the period of community quarantine should be amortized in equal monthly installments until Dec. 31 without interest, penalties and other charges.
The resolution said that while business establishments are open, yet there are no customers since about 90 percent of these customers are highly dependent on public transportation.
Since the declaration of ECQ from March to May, the changing of quarantine status to MECQ, many, if not all business establishments were crippled financially as most businesses were forced to close due to loss of income, it said.
While others try to survive despite zero income, rentals by property owners were not waived, thus creating huge financial burden to the lessees especially the SMEs, the resolution said.
These businessmen need the help of property owners to prevent the collapse of their business industry saddled with accumulated amortizations and payables caused by closure of their businesses at the height of the strict quarantine periods, it added.*