Jones Lang LaSalle Philippines, Inc. (JLL) organized a webinar entitled “COVID-19 Pandemic: The effects of the ECQ on office lease contracts” last 7 May 2020. It was attended by over 100 participants.

The legal issue of whether the government’s declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in key cities and provinces in the Philippines constitutes force majeure was discussed by its panelists, including Chrysilla Carissa P. Bautista, a Partner of ACCRALAW and Roderick RC Salazar, Senior Partner of Fortun Narvasa & Salazar.  Also in the panel were JLL’s Country Head Christophe Vivic, Head of Commercial Leasing Lizanne Tan and Head of Research and Consultancy Janlo de los Reyes.

There is no single clear cut answer because lease contracts vary and not all business ceased operations. For sure, both landlords and tenants have remedies under the law and at times, specific provisions in their contracts, that they can pursue to protect their interests. But a purely legal approach may not be the best solution at this time because both business-oriented landlords and tenants only wish to resume normal or “new normal” operations as soon as public safety allows.