MANILA — Small-scale businesses hit by the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon can settle their April rent in 6-month installments, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
"Ibig sabihin po, kung ano man ang dapat na bayarin na due date within the quarantine period ay ito po ay itutulak at may 30-day grace period... It will be paid in 6 monthly amortization o installment in 6 months para maluwag-luwag ang pagbayad," Lopez told radio DZMM on Saturday.
The directive of giving grace period for micro-small-medium enterprises (MSMEs) was approved by the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and DTI was tasked to formulate the guidelines, he said.
Lopez said he signed the circular Saturday, after consulting with the Department of Justice.
The Trade Secretary said the 6-month amortization was meant to lighten the financial burden of small businesses whose earnings were affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
"Hindi papatong [ang April rent] sa Mayo... Para po makaluwag ang ating maliliit na nagosyante... [H]indi po mabibigla ang ating mga MSME na hindi na nga nakapagnegosyo, may babayaran pa," Lopez said.
The government earlier imposed a 30-day moratorium on payments of residential rents and loans.
The entire Luzon was placed under enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19 from March 17 to April 12.
The lockdown has forced most business establishments to close, with the exception of those providing basic necessities such as those related to food and medicine.