SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has given business locators in this premier free port more time to pay for their overdue accounts to help them weather the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Willma T. Eisma said the Subic agency has recently approved the Economic Relief Assistance (ERA) Payment Scheme that would allow longer amortization period for bills that had remained unpaid since the pandemic hit in March last year.
“With this ERA scheme, Subic locators can amortize their bills for up to 24 months, or ever more than 36 months, at a fraction of the usual interest and at diminishing rates,” Eisma said.
“This is actually just the latest in a series of SBMA board approvals that gave our business community, as well as residents, grace periods and other forms of economic relief to help ease their difficulties during these trying times,” she added.
Under the ERA Payment Scheme, companies without arrears before March 2020 could avail of longer payment amortization for unpaid billings from March 2020 onward under three options: up to 24 months amortization, with just one-fourth of 1% interest and at 3% diminishing rate; over 24 to 26 months amortization, with one-half of 1% interest and at 6% diminishing rate; or over 36 months amortization, with three-fourths of 1% interest and at 9% diminishing rate.
On the other hand, those with arrears before March 2020 could avail of a longer amortization period at the following terms: up to 24 months, with one-half of 1% interest and at 6% diminishing rate; over 24 to 36 months, with three-fourth of 1% interest and at 9% diminishing rate; or over 36 months, with 1% interest and at 12% diminishing rate.
Eisma also said the SBMA further sweetened the deal by offering 10% upfront payment instead of 20%, with 90% payable through equal amortization and with the first month amortization due the following month after the upfront payment.
The scheduled repayments should be covered by post-dated checks or deed of undertaking to be submitted on or before January 31.
Guidelines issued by the SBMA for the ERA Payment Scheme also required locators to submit promissory letters to the Office of the Deputy Administrator (ODA) for Finance, along with their application for the amortization program.
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The statement of account (SOA) as of December 31, 2020 shall be considered for application under the ERA Payment Scheme. The SBMA Accounting Department shall provide the SOA balances as of December 31, 2020 of the locators who applied, and identify those who are with or without arrears before March 2020.
Locators who applied under the ERA Payment Scheme shall be allowed to pay only their current January 2021 billings while their request for ERA Payment Scheme is being processed.
Eisma said that aside from the ERA scheme, the SBMA has also temporarily suspended from March to June last year the collection of penalties and other fees from business locators and residents to help ease economic difficulties during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This covered penalties on late payment of billings, fees on deferment of deposit for maturing post-dated checks, and due dates covering payment schemes with deed of undertaking.
In June last year, Subic locators received yet another economic relief when the SBMA board of directors passed a resolution giving a 119-day grace period for the collection of all due accounts that included lease rentals, common use services area fees, port charges, garbage collection fees, sublease shares, and gross revenue shares since March 2020.