Solon sees bleak months ahead for banks, hotels

Published January 24, 2021, 12:25 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The COVID-induced economic crunch might hit local banking and tourism industries hard in the coming months, leading to more job losses, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel warned Sunday.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel

“The bigger banks in particular might start reducing their headcount this year, once they get a better estimation of their bad loans,” Pimentel said.

The Mindanao lawmaker said the suspension of loan repayments mandated by Congress last year made it difficult for banks to fully ascertain their non-performing loans.

“There’s no question the post-pandemic banking landscape will involve fewer brick-and-mortar branches, with more Filipinos performing transactions online,” he noted.

He cited the case of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and wholly owned subsidiary BPI Family Savings Bank which have decided to merge to streamline operations.

Pimentel also said a number of large hotels might follow in the footsteps of the Makati Shangri-La which has decided to temporarily close its doors starting Feb. 1.

“The bigger hotels and resorts with more financial resources deferred labor retrenchments throughout 2020. They might start cutting those jobs now,” he said.

In this regard, Pimentel called for the creation of one-stop shops where laid-off Filipinos can easily claim separation insurance, apply for skills retooling, and seek reemployment facilitation.

“It pains us to see dismissed workers transacting tediously with multiple agencies to avail of assistance. Government must provide physical locations plus a customized website where displaced workers can get all the help that they need from multiple agencies under one roof in just one stop,” said the PDP-Laban stalwart.

Pimentel urged the Social Security System, Public Employment Service Office, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and local government units to work together in putting up the proposed one-stop shops.