Tourism workers in NCR receive P240 million subsidies

Elijah Felice Rosales (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government has distributed more than P240 million in cash subsidies to tourism workers in Metro Manila who were displaced by the cycles of lockdowns.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) in Metro Manila yesterday reported it spent a total of P240.25 million to provide P5,000 each to 48,050 tourism workers in the region.

The financial assistance and cash for work program managed by the DOT and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) ended last May 10.

The DOT and DOLE have used up the P3-billion facility they received from Bayanihan 2 to hand out P5,000 to displaced workers in the tourism sector. In turn, the DOLE has stopped accepting applications for the cash subsidy with funds for the program now depleted.

It remains to be seen, however, when or if the government plans to replenish the facility through the legislation of a third stimulus bill. Millions of tourism workers, especially in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, lost their jobs this summer  with the revert to lockdown.

Based on DOT estimates, at least 4.8 million of the 5.7 million workers in tourism were affected by the mobility restrictions.

Last week, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the government can employ the use of vaccine passes to restart trade and travel in Metro Manila.

He said business operations can scale up their capacity when employing this mechanism, such that hotels and resorts no longer need to require guests to present a negative COVID result.

Tourism enterprises backed Concepcion’s proposal. Philippine Hotel Owners Association president Arthur Lopez said vaccine passes would encourage people to go on trips by simplifying travel requirements into one.

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