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Published January 13, 2022, 5:00 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Legarda seeks ₱30 B in bridge fund, tax, rent relief for the restaurant industry

HELPING THE FOOD INSDUSTRY Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines Loren Legarda (Philippine News Agency)

As parts of the country have been placed under Alert Level 3, where businesses are only allowed to operate at 30 percent indoor capacity and 50 percent outdoor capacity after the surge in COVID-19 cases, three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda called for the passage of the Restaurant Industry Revival Act under House Bill No. 7610.

“The foodservice industry is in dire crisis. The changes in regulations and restrictions due to the outbreak have severely affected the global and domestic economies. One of the sectors badly affected is the restaurant industry. This pandemic has changed the industry’s landscape, affecting its business operations, retail to customers, and logistic services,” Legarda said.

Legarda filed House Bill No. 7610, which seeks to provide what she called a ₱30-billion “bridge fund” for restaurants to revive the restaurant industry for a post-COVID-19 economy and ensure their transition to a better normal, as hundreds of these restaurants have ceased operations, all as a result of the imposition of community quarantines and restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus.

On top of the bridge fund, the bill likewise seeks to provide tax incentives and rent-extension payments to restaurants in distress that will allow the restaurant industry to sustain its operations and stay afloat until the pandemic is over.

“It has been a challenge for restaurant owners and operators to sustain their businesses, sacrificing sales revenue, balancing their remaining cash flows to cover rental, taxes, and other fees while ensuring that they can still provide daily wages to their employees. We have already recorded a 44 percent drop in foodservice sales in 2020, and many establishments need to downsize or cease operations,” Legarda said.

‘We have already recorded a 44 percent drop in foodservice sales in 2020, and many establishments need to downsize or cease operations.’

“The restaurant industry also needs our assistance for them to save their business and save their employees who depend on them. We have to provide economic measures to the restaurant industry to ensure that they are able to provide jobs, prevent their closure through the creation of payment extensions and bridge funding, assist them in the transition to a better normal that would reduce food wastage, sustain biodiverse agriculture, and also ensure that the employees are protected as they continue with their operations, “ Legarda concluded.

 
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