DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez. FILE PHOTO / Earvin Perias

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday called on mall and commercial establishment owners to lower rental fees to allow reopening of small businesses.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said that while businesses have been gradually allowed to reopen, some opt to stay closed due to high rental fees.

“Pero sa panahon na marami pong naghihirap lalo na mga MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises], kahit yung nagbukas na, yung iba ayaw pa rin magbukas kasi tatakbo yung upa and at the same time, wala pa naman masyadong consumers, namimili,”  Lopez said in an interview over Teleradyo.

(In a time where MSMEs are having difficulties, some still do not want to reopen even if we allowed because of the rent and at the same time, there are not many consumers.)

“Kaya ang solusyon po dun, katulad nung ginawa ng isang mall, winaive nila yung fees, part ng renta at percentage na lang ang sinisingil nila para lang bumalik yung mga shop owners at magbukas dahil kung hindi, talagang hindi kakayanin bayaran yung upa kung dating rate,” he went on.

(The solution is, just like one mall which waived fees and only charged a percentage of businesses’ sales so that shop owners will reopen. Because if not, they will not be able to afford the old rates of rent.)

President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fifth State of the Nation Address, appealed to lessors to be “fair and compassionate” and come into “amenable arrangements” with their tenants amid the pandemic.

“Kaya importante na yung lessors ay magbigay ng kaunti dahil ang mangyayari po nito kapag hindi po sila nagbigay ng mas mababang paupa, talagang unti unti pong mawawala ang mga manininda at baka wala na rin umupa sila pagtagal,” Lopez said.

(That’s why it’s important for lessors to give a little because if they don’t give lower rental fees, small shop owners will slowly disappear and the lessors will no longer have lessees at all.)


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