Congress lauded for approving P10-B tourism stimulus fund

Tourism stakeholders thanked Congress for approving the proposed allocation for the recovery of enterprises and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) would like to express its deepest gratitude to the bicameral conference committee for approving the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act also known as the Bayanihan 2 bill and allocating P10 billion for tourism," the group said in a statement Friday.

The TCP said the funds will be of "great assistance" to their sector.

"As many businesses are on the verge of closing, this allocation will allow our stakeholders to continue operations and more importantly, keep their employees who are in dire need of sources of income at this point in time," it said.

"This will help over 4.8 million direct and indirect workers that have been affected by the various stages of community quarantine since last March."

Members of the bicameral conference committee initially wrangled over the allocation of the P10-billion tourism stimulus under the proposed Bayanihan 2. The Senate allotted the amount for loans and assistance programs for the sector while the House of Representatives wanted it given to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority for infrastructure.

In the end, the lawmakers agreed to distribute the fund for various forms of assistance: P6 billion as capital infusion for the Department of Trade and Industry's Small Business Corp. for tourism micro, small, and medium enterprises; P3 billion to assist displaced tourism sector workers through the Department of Labor and Employment; and P1 billion for tourism infrastructure by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Also included is a P100-million allocation for tourist guide training and subsidies.

The bill was ratified by the Senate last Thursday.

"The Philippine tourism industry has proven itself to be a vital cog in the national economy and we are confident that we will be so once more as we march towards the new normal," the TCP said.

"We look forward to the time when we can again showcase the beauty of our country to the world. It is through the enactment of the Bayanihan 2 that can start on that path," it added.