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Bayanihan 2 to provide tourism sector with ‘billions’ in financial aid — Aragones

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House tourism chair and Laguna Rep. on Friday clarified that the tourism sector would still have access to billions of pesos under the House version of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2.

She revealed that Congress had even set up meetings between tourism stakeholders and government financial institutions so that they could easily obtain loans to help them survive the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Hindi po tinanggal ang working capital na assistance sa ating mga stakeholders; ito ay maaari pa din nila makuha sa P51 billion na allocation para sa assistance sa mga government financial institutions,” said Aragones.

She said the House even stepped in when it learned that the tourism industry stakeholders had encountered difficulties in obtaining loans from banks under Bayanihan 1.

According to Aragones, “nalaman po natin na nahirapan silang mag loan sa mga bangko noong Bayanihan 1, at ayaw po natin na mangyari ulit ito sa kanila kaya naman tutulungan sila ng Kongreso.”

Aragones said that members of Congress on Tuesday met with members of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) to explain that the P10 billion allocated for tourism-related infrastructure projects under the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) would not deprive the sector of access to financial assistance.

On top of the allocated funds, there is also P100 million to finance the training and subsidies for tourist guides.

“Pinaliwanag po natin na holistic ang approach ng House version ng Bayanihan 2, at iginiit namin na yung loans naman ay ma-avail nila dun sa P51 billion allocation to GFIs (government financial institutions). In fact, dahil dito, hindi lang limited to 10 billion pesos ang pwedeng makuha ng industriya,” stressed the solon.

“Kaya holistic ang approach ng Kongreso kasi bukod sa nais natin tulungan ang tourism stakeholders sa working capital, kasabay din nito ay ang paghahanda sa muling pagbangon ng industriya.”

The Tourism Congress on Thursday slammed the House leadership for “realigning” the tourism bailout fund to TIEZA instead of the Department of Tourism. The Senate version proposed putting the money to loans for the tourism sector.

But Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte said there was no realignment of the fund, and the tourism stakeholders could access P51 billion in loans from GFIs. He dismissed the argument that tourism infrastructure was not necessary at this time.

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