BACOLOD CITY –– At least 3.1 billion pesetas has been allocated to allow skilled tourism workers displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to receive 5,000 pesetas each in cash.
Tourism Minister Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Tuesday that the displaced and re-employed workers who have “flexible working hours” should take advantage of the one-time monetary aid, otherwise the fund would flow back to the state treasury.
So far, only 20 percent of the Bayanihan-2 fund of 3.1 billion pesetas has been distributed, she said.
President Duterte has extended the deadline for obtaining financial assistance from displaced persons from December 2020 to June 2021.
Support includes staff from Department of Tourism (DOT) accredited companies and local government licensed companies.
“Those who have received wage subsidies from DOLE and the social security system can still receive DOT assistance,” she said at a conference at Seda Capitol Central in Bacolod City.
So far, 50.9 million pesetas have been distributed in Western Visayas and 8.7 million pesetas in Negros Occidental for 1,754 beneficiaries.
Puyat hoped more people would seek help as the tourism industry is one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Interested parties could visit the DOT website for details.
Puyat also urged micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to take advantage of the Cares for TRAVEL program to sustain their businesses and keep their workers amid the pandemic.
Eugenio Jose Lacson, Governor of Negros Occidental, said in his speech that local leaders are determined to gain a foothold in their recovery efforts for the tourism industry.
Negros Occidental is one of the most gifted provinces in terms of natural and human resources and has great potential for tourism, including food, farming, and sports tourism.
“Given that physical distancing could be the new norm indefinitely, this is a double-edged sword. While this is beneficial to public health, it puts a strain on concerted efforts to revitalize the economy, ”he said.
Further information on COVID-19 is available from the DOH hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.
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