Bicam urged: Realign P10 billion tourism aid to DOT, not TIEZA
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is calling on the bicameral conference committee on the proposed Bayanihan To Recover As One Act or Bayanihan 2 to realign the P10 billion intended for the tourism sector to the Department of Tourism (DOT) instead of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said it is not infrastructure by TIEZA that is needed at the moment but rather direct assistance to stakeholders in the tourism industry directly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rodriguez said millions of employees in various establishments and small enterprises have lost their jobs and source of income.
“It is these workers we need to give priority to in allocating public funds for the tourism sector, not to more road projects leading to faraway tourist destinations. Many of these projects do not have an immediate economic impact unlike direct assistance to tourism stakeholders and their employees,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
The lawmaker explained that under the House version of the measure, the funding for the tourism sector is allocated to TIEZA and not the DOT unlike the Senate’s version of Bayanihan 2.
Further, Rodriguez pointed out that the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, which groups owners of resorts, travel agencies and other tourism-oriented businesses, is in support of the Senate version.
Other groups supporting the Senate’s version Bayanihan 2, Rodriguez said, are the Philippine Travel Agencies Association, Philippine Tour Operators Association, Hotel Sales and Marketing Association Philippines, National Association of Independent Travel Agencies, Region One Travel Agencies Association, and the Davao Association of Tour Operators.
According to Rodriguez, some industry stakeholders have expressed fears that funds appropriated for roads and other tourism infrastructure “could be used for political purposes.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.