The leadership of the House of Representatives has assured tourism business leaders of its unequivocal support for this once-booming industry, as the chamber has set aside a considerable part of its just-approved bill on the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 for the recovery of this sector that is one of the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Deputy Speaker for Finance and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte in a virtual meeting of the House committee on tourism Tuesday, Tourism Congress of the Philippines president Jose
Clemente III and other industry leaders of the commitment of the House leadership under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to help bring this industry back on its feet soon enough by way of successive funding support from the chamber for a series of stimulus programs for the sector.
“The House leadership’s commitment to the swift recovery of domestic tourism industry is in full support of President Duterte’s call in his 5th SONA (State of the Nation Address) for Filipinos to help boost the domestic economy by travelling locally,” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte told Clemente and other industry leaders that Bayanihan 2, of which the Camarines Sur lawmaker is the lead proponent in the
House, provides for a P162-billion stimulus package to aid the various Covid-hit sectors.
This includes a P51-billion outlay for government financial institutions or GFIs—the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines—for their various credit programs intended for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises along with transport and tourism stakeholders reeling from the pandemic’s economic fallout.
On top of such stimulus funds for tourism and other sectors, he said House Bill (HB) 6953 or Bayanihan 2 provides for a P10-billion allocation for the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, which is the infrastructure arm of the Department of Tourism (DOT), “for infrastructure projects aimed at beefing up the country’s tourism infrastructure for the long haul and creating thousands of jobs for displaced industry workers in the immediate term.”
The House unanimously approved Bayanihan 2 on third and final reading by a 242-0 vote on Monday while the Senate earlier approved its own version, which entails a smaller stimulus package of P140 billion.
There is no counterpart P10-billion allocation for TIEZA in the Senate version (Senate Bill or SB 1564).
“The House leadership under Speaker Cayetano has assured tourism
industry leaders led by Mr. Clemente of its unequivocal support for the speedy recovery of this once booming sector, which is among the sectors worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic,” Villafuerte said.