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P28-B stimulus package to cushion COVID-19 tourism impact –Gatchalian

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian revealed on Saturday that he had filed a resolution urging the country's economic managers to assess the impact the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had on the economy, and to develop a stimulus package that would reinvigorate the economy and prevent or reverse a possible economic crisis from the virus outbreak.

“At this moment, the global coronavirus outbreak threatens to disrupt the world market. It is only prudent for our economic managers to implement policies that will ensure that the domestic demand will remain strong to counter the effects of slowing global economy due to COVID-19,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian was particularly focused on the outbreak's effect on the tourism and related industries, citing the job losses at the Philippine Airlines which recently laid off 300 employees over revenue losses due to the COVID-19 travel ban.

"There are mounting fears that other companies would follow suit especially in several tourism supply chains which includes hotels, restaurants, land transport service, logistics, and catering to name a few," said the senator.

According to his own computations, Gatchalian estimated that the government needed to create a P28 billion stimulus package that could assist tourism-related subsectors in a three-pronged approach:

  • helping tourism-related micro, small, and medium enterprises, by extending property tax discounts and temporary Value-Added Tax (VAT) relief;
  • creating a financing facility that could extend loans and financial support to the subsectors hit by the outbreak; and
  • a government-led rehabilitation of the country’s cultural landmarks and dilapidated heritage sites to boost domestic tourism.

— DVM, GMA News