MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday appealed to landlords to be compassionate to tenants as many continue to grapple with the financial challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Duterte said lessors should provide "amenable" arrangements with tenants on how to settle dues as the pandemic disrupts the financial stability of millions of Filipinos.
"Nanawagan po ako sa ating mga lessors, malasakit at bayanihan ang sana po ay pairalin natin ngayon. This is not the time to drive away lessees. During normal times, they were the primary source of your income stream," he said.
(I appeal to our lessors, be compassionate.)
The President urged lessors not to make life more difficult for tenants who cannot pay their dues yet.
"Huwag po natin silang ipagtabuyan, tanggalin ang tubig, kuryente at bubong," Duterte said.
"Now it's time to be fair and compassionate, come up with an amenable arrangement with your tenants," he added.
The government previously barred the eviction of tenants when it placed parts of the country under strict lockdown from mid-March to May.
Some landlords however reportedly evicted tenants, including healthcare workers who were unable to pay their rent even during the moratorium period.
Commercial establishments, according to the President, should provide grace periods for small businesses leasing spaces, saying it is important to help them recover from the pandemic.
The Department of Trade and Industry previously said that landlords are not allowed to evict residential and commercial tenants, and should give tenants a 30-day grace period to settle their dues once the community quarantine is lifted.
The entire Philippines remains under varying degrees of community quarantine until the end of the month as the country continues to see an increase in COVID-19 infections.