Duterte urges landlords, banks to help small businesses recover

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 27) — President Rodrigo Duterte appealed to landlords and banks in the country to help in the recovery of small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, Duterte said that lessors should come up with “amenable arrangement” and to not drive their tenants away. He reminded them that prior to the pandemic, these tenants were their source of income.

“Commercial establishments are requested to give grace period to allow deferment of payments especially for MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises] that they are forced to close during the quarantine period,” he said.

As for the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and banks operating in the country, Duterte ordered them to provide MSMEs with regulatory relief and to allow loan payment extension without incurring penalties and charges.

Prior to this, Duterte has directed the extension and delay of payment of loans and rent of businesses and tenants with the implementation of community quarantine in the country mid-March, which forced many businesses to close down either temporarily or permanently.

In June, the Department of Labor said more than 3,000 establishments across the country have permanently closed or cut back workforce due to the pandemic.

The global crisis also led to the unemployment of 7.3 million Filipinos, which brought unemployment rate to 17.7 percent, an all-time high.