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Former socioeconomic planning secretary Winnie Monsod sees something sinister in the House of Representatives’ move to allot P10 billion to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) under the economic stimulus package known as the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

In her August 15 column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Monsod said funding infrastructure projects will be useless if no tourists will come to destinations because businesses are closed.

She also took issue with lodging P10 billion in TIEZA, an agency from which the Department of Finance took P12 billion away from due to its inability to start projects.

“So how will P10 billion given to it help toward response and recovery? Unless of course, it is spent on projects that have the smell of PORK to them—corruption-laden,” Monsod said.

Under the Senate version of the Bayanihan 2 bill, the P10-billion fund for the tourism sector’s recovery will go to the Department of Tourism (DOT) and government financial institutions, which will provide low interest loans, loan guarantees, and credit facilities to affected small and medium enterprises.

The Tourism Congress of the Philippines, which represents tourism stakeholders from the private sectors, has opposed the House version of the Bayanihan 2 bill. The measure is currently being deliberated by the bicameral conference committee.

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