Philippine trade seeks fiscal assistance from government

Philippine tourism stakeholders are clamouring for financial assistance from the government to assist them in bouncing back from the crippling effects of the Covid-19 epidemic.

In a letter dated March 6 addressed to tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP) president Jojo Clemente proposed allowing a temporary reduction in workforce for six months as well as deferring the collection of contributions to social security, housing programme and health insurance by six months – to be paid off in instalments instead of a lump-sum payment.

Struggling tourism businesses in the Philippines are urging the government to provide financial incentives amid the Covid-19 slump; Crystal Cove Island in Boracay, the Philippines pictured

Clemente also recommended that “some form of low-interest loans or credit facilities be made available to stakeholders in precarious situations”.

“While we realise that the Department of Tourism (DoT) may not have the purview to enact tax-related matters, we hope that (it) can make representation for the stakeholders to the appropriate departments and agencies,” he wrote.

TCP’s suggestion to give discount on airlines’ landing and parking fees was heeded when the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines announced on Monday (March 9) that they will defer charging local airlines fees for landing, takeoff, and parking at airports for a year to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 on the airline industry.

Other recommendations put forward by TCP include temporary visa fee waivers for all foreigners; temporary deferment of applicable taxes to stakeholders for a predetermined period of time; extension of participation fee waivers beyond June for tradeshows and roadshows organised by DoT and Tourism Promotions Board; and to complete Boracay’s infrastructure projects during this tourism slump.

TCP also called on the government to issue “clear and focused messaging” to dispel fear and panic caused by the flood of information out there which are lacking in context or adequate information.

Pertaining to Covid-19, it also appealed for a revision of the presentation of statistics to reflect the actual number of persons under investigation, discharged patients and current number of confirmed infections, as well as a weekly update from the DoT, based on Department of Health figures, which tourism players can use to send to their clients.

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