Small businesses are in danger of collapsing due to quarantine measures that have grounded economic activity, and they need help from local governments, experts from De La Salle University (DLSU) said.

In a policy brief, the DLSU Jesse Robredo Institute of Governance urged local government units (LGUs) to waive or defer payments of business and real property taxes, and other fees.

“Many Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSME) are in danger of collapsing due to the ECQ (expanded community quarantine). While many businesses are closed, many are still due for taxes, rental payments, loan repayments, and paying the salaries of their employees,” it said.

The policy brief noted that the the national government had adopted measures such as the extended filing period for taxes and a 30-day grace period in the payment of rents.

“LGUs can assist MSMEs by waiving or deferring payments for real property taxes, business permits, penalties, and other LGU fees. It can also encourage local establishments to provide loans and waive or reduce rental fees during the lockdown period,” it said.

The policy brief also urged local officials to ensure the protection of individuals from “vulnerable” sectors of society, such as the elderly, those with medical conditions, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, single-parent households, and the poor, as they are “disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and the ECQ.”

“LGUs should involve and partner with civil society groups and the private sector, whenever possible, in mobilizing all available local resources, networks, and expertise in addressing the challenges and impacts of Covid-19,” it said. (