Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced that around 27,000 qualified displaced tourism workers in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have been endorsed by the Department to receive the P5,000 cash aid from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The beneficiaries warmly received their documents as timely tokens for Christmas during the ceremonial awarding of the financial assistance certificates led by the tourism chief at the Wright Park Gazebo in Baguio City on Monday.
“I commend the City of Baguio, the Province of Benguet, and the entire Cordillera Administrative Region for proactively responding to the call to make the Bayanihan Act 2 cash assistance program accessible to the displaced tourism workers in your area,” Puyat said.
Signed in October, the DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular No. No. 2020-001 laid out the guidelines for the Bayanihan Act 2 cash assistance for tourism workers who were displaced due to the ongoing pandemic. These include displaced DOT-accredited and local government unit (LGU)-licensed tour guides; employees of DOT-accredited primary tourism enterprises; employees of DOT-accredited secondary tourism enterprises; LGU-licensed primary tourism enterprises; and members of registered community-based tourism organizations (CBTOs).
On Dec. 7, a Joint Advisory (JA) between the two agencies, titled Expanded Coverage of Beneficiaries Under DOLE-DOT Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2020-001, widened the coverage of the cash assistance program to extend to the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) under BAYANIHAN 1; workers of affected establishments that implemented flexible work arrangements or alternative work schemes; and LGU-licensed secondary tourism enterprises.
According to DOT-CAR, 932 tourism enterprises and organizations have been endorsed as program recipients, with a total of 26,972 beneficiaries.
Out of these endorsed beneficiaries, the DOLE-CAR has already approved 10,555 applications, with the remaining 16,417 applications currently being processed.
Recipients of the program represented the sectors of creative arts and crafts; vendors, events and entertainment; accommodation; wellness and personal care; restaurants; transportation; travel and tour agencies; tour guides; tourism training center; and CBTOs.
About P134,860,000 will have been disbursed if all the applications are deemed approved.
“I would like to offer my gratitude to the local government units of the region; the DOT-CAR and DOLE-CAR offices; the provincial and municipal tourism offices; and the regional line agencies for their tireless work and dedication so that the government could efficiently and effectively deliver this program to the target beneficiaries,” Puyat said.
“The DOT hopes that this program conducted in partnership with DOLE will help you get through this difficult period. As we continue our efforts to spur the recovery of domestic tourism, it is our goal to make tourism-related businesses and enterprises flourish once again, leading to more opportunities for decent jobs and stable livelihoods,” she added.
Also present during the ceremonial awarding event were Congressman Mark Go, Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan, Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano, Baguio Tourism Council and BLISTT Tourism Council Head Gladys Vergara, Baguio Tourism Officer Alec Mapalo, La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda, and Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan.