IATF approves grace period for rental fees, loans

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases has approved the grant of a 30-day grace period or deferment on commercial rental payments falling due to micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period.

“Under the approved proposal, no interest, penalties and other charges shall be imposed on the deferred payment due. Our agency made the proposal in order to help MSMEs cope up with the slowdown in economic activities because of the coronavirus disease pandemic,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Regional Director Judith Angeles said.

Department of Finance (DOF) has also issued a policy instituting a 30-day mandatory grace period for all loans with principal and/or interest falling within the ECQ period. 

“Borrowers covered under the rules include MSMEs, corporate borrowers, individuals, households and other counterparties. Under the guidelines, loans shall not incur interest, penalties, fees and other charges for the 30-day grace period,” Angeles explained.

Covered institutions required to implement the policy include banks, quasi-banks, non-stock savings and loans associations, credit card issuers, pawnshops and other credit granting financial institutions under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Securities and Exchange Commission and Cooperative Development Authority as well as the Government Services Insurance System and the Pag-ibig Fund. The Implementing Rules and Regulations was issued by DOF as part of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act or RA 11469.

SB Corporation, one of the largest providers of MSME financing of the national government, has announced to its partner financial institutions and MSME borrowers of its 30-day moratorium on payment for the period March 16 to April 14.

In the statement, SB Corporation said borrowers have an option to pay only the interest portion of their monthly payments for up to six months or until October 2020. 

“This will give the MSMEs affected by the ECQ to channel their finances in their efforts to rise above the challenges caused by the pandemic and help them recover from possible losses,” Angeles furthered.

To further support consumers and MSMEs during the ECQ, DTI has also enjoined supermarkets, groceries, agri-fisheries stores, public markets and drug stores and retailers of basic needs and prime commodities to extend their operations to a maximum of 12 hours to spread the flow of consumers and support social distancing. 

As such, local government units are enjoined to allow such establishments to operate under the extended operation hours.

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