MANILA - In a changed tone, President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday appealed to landlords and lessors to allow a delay in payments from their tenants and lessees amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Due to the lockdown placed since March in parts of the Philippines to curb the fast-spreading COVID-19, most workers and businessmen were forced to stop their normal operations, leading to loss of income.
"Ako nakikiusap, nagmamakaawa dahil nga...how are you supposed to pay? Maawa naman kayo sa mga kababayan natin. Let us help one another," Duterte said in a briefing in Malacañang streamed online.
The President said that if delay in payments won't "spell bankruptcy" for landlords and lessors, they can use their savings for the meantime for their needs.
"Tiisin na lang ninyo with nothing except your savings to tide you over," he said.
The President earlier had a tougher tone, warning landlords and lessors that they should not pressure their renters and lessees for payment since the lockdown in parts of the country has affected work and businesses.
"'Do not tempt the gods. Kasi pag 'di ito naayos, itong COVID-19, mapurnada tayong lahat. 'Wag ninyong madaliin," he said in a press briefing in April.
Duterte said this issue should be addressed by the Department of Trade and Industry.
"There can be some sort of adjudication process to fix this problem," he said.
The DTI earlier released a 30-day moratorium on residential and commercial rent for small businesses.
Cumulative rent that needs to be paid within the quarantine period must be amortized equally in the 6 months following the end of the said period without charges, it said.