MANILA – Sen. Lito Lapid has filed a bill mandating the deferment of rental payments for residential and commercial property in times of calamities, as the country continued to grapple with the coronavirus crisis.
In a statement released Saturday, the lawmaker said the legislation would provide adequate protection and assistance to the poor and vulnerable in times of disasters and calamities.
“Gaya na lamang ng nararanasan nating COVID-19 pandemic ngayon na nauwi sa pagsasara ng maraming negosyo at pagsuspinde ng maraming trabaho kaya marami sa ating mga kababayan ang walang kita at walang pagkukunan ng pambayad ng renta,” he said.
(Just like with the present COVID-19 pandemic, which lead to the closure of many businesses and work suspension. That’s why many citizens lost their livelihood and could not pay rent.)
Daily wage earners had lost livelihood in the pandemic, which shuttered businesses and suspended public transportation.
“Marapat lang na siguruhing hindi sila mapapaalis sa kanilang mga nirerentahang bahay sa panahong hindi pa nila kayang magbayad dahil na rin sa umiiral na state of calamity o emergency,” Lapid added.
(We should ensure that they are not evicted if they couldn’t pay rent while a state of calamity or emergency prevails.)
Senate Bill No. 1525 also seeks a moratorium on evictions for the same period regardless of the cause, except when a lessee commits a criminal act.
The moratorium on rental fees shall be implemented on residential units referring to apartments, houses, dormitories, rooms and bed spaces, Lapid said.
“Malaking bagay na sa panahon ng mga pagsubok na ito ay hindi na muna kailangang alalahanin ng publiko ang pagbabayad ng renta sa bahay. Para na rin mapagtuunan nila ng pansin ang ibang pangunahing pangangailangan gaya ng pagkain, gamot at ang pag-ahon mula sa matinding epekto ng kalamidad,” the senator said.
(The public should not worry about paying their rent in times of crisis. So they could focus on their primary needs such as food, medicine and recovering from calamity.)
Rent deferrals and eviction moratorium could also be applied to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the discretion of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Lapid said.