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Spare Congress from tourism players’ squabbles – solon

By: - Correspondent / @melvingasconINQ
/ 05:05 AM August 15, 2020

A House leader on Friday called on major players in the tourism industry not to drag Congress into the in-fighting among its stakeholders, after he drew flak for the House proposal to use a P10 billion stimulus fund under House Bill No. 6953, or the proposed Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, for tourism infrastructure.

In an interview, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymond Villafuerte shot back at the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) for assailing the proposal of the Lower House to divert the fund from the Department of Tourism (DOT) to the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza).

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“If the TCP asks, ‘Who will use those infrastructures when we’re all dead? My answer to [them] is: who would want to travel and have a vacation now when people are dying of [coronavirus disease] and hunger?’” he said.

Villafuerte’s reply was designed to answer criticisms, mainly from major industry players, over the supposed realignment by the Lower House of the P10-billion bailout fund for the tourism industry in its version of the P162-billion in HB 6593, or the Bayanihan 2 bill.

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The Camarines Sur lawmaker defended the bill when it was presented for approval in the House plenary.

Bayanihan 2 seeks to provide a stimulus package for industries worst-hit by the pandemic, such as tourism, transportation and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

But in the House version, the P10-billion for the tourism industry was being coursed through Tieza, which is an aligned agency of DOT.

According to sources, a group of tourism players, who are reportedly close to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, are supposedly at odds with an “independent group” that is close to former Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, and have supposedly become Puyat’s critics at DOT.

Puyat has expressed support for the TCP position of channeling the P10-billion fund through the department, and not through its attached agency, Tieza.

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TAGS: Bayanihan 2, DoT, HB6593, Infrastructure, L-Ray Villafuerte, TCP, Tieza, Tourism
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