Philippines Congress Approves Over US$200 Million Fund

Philippines, covid19, funds, financial help

Children performing traditional dances in Davao

The Philippines Congress approved a proposed allocation for the recovery of enterprises and workers affected by the covid-19 pandemic. The government will distribute PHP10 billion, equivalent to US$205 million. 

“The Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) would like to express its deepest gratitude to the bicameral conference committee for approving the Fund to Recover as One Act also known as the Bayanihan 2 bill and allocating PHP10 billion for tourism,” the tourism special interest group said in a statement on Friday, August 21.

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 PHP10-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. According to newspapers, the majority of the fund (PHP6 billion) will be injected as capital for the Department of Trade and Industry’s Small Business Corp. into tourism micro, small, and medium enterprises; another PHP3 billion will help assisting displaced tourism sector workers through the Department of Labor and Employment. Finally, a PHP1 billion will be dedicated to tourism infrastructure by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

“The Philippines 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.

(Source: The Manila Bulletin)