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Around 75k hotel workers will be displaced due to COVID-19 —industry group

Around 75,000 workers in the hotel and accommodation industry will be displaced due to disruptions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Philippine Hotel Owners Association Inc. (PHOAI).

In an interview on Dobol sa News TV, PHOAI legislative and liaison officer Rafael Chico based the number of potential displaced workers in the sector on the number of hotel rooms in the country which is about 63,500 to 75,000.

There will be around more ore less 75,000 workers who will be displaced if the ratio of employees per room is one-is-to-one, Chico said.

“Nasa 70% to 80% hindi na nago-operate na dahil lockdown ‘yan so... expect na napakalaki ng lugi ng mga hotels natin,” he said.

“Ngayon kasi nago-operate lang ay selected hotels lang, sila naman ay dalawang bagay yan,” he added, noting that operating hotels function as quarantine facilities or quarters for health workers, returning OFWs, and stranded foreign travelers.

Chico also noted that accommodation establishments will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine, citing Department of Tourism Administrative Order 2020-002.

“For the hotels to survive, definitely, they have to reduce expenses, administrative, operating, and salaries... Maapektuhan ang mga manggagawa, nakakaawa po,” he said.

Hotel owners are seeking interventions from the government for the industry to get back on its foot.

Chico said the PHOAI is proposing to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas another 400 basis points reduction in banks’ reserve requirement to boost liquidity in the financial system to support the sector’s market operations.

The group is also asking for further reduction in interest rates for greater access to affordable credit.

Government-owned and controlled banks are also encouraged to provide short-term working capital loans of up to two years for hotels who have reopened.

Chico said PHOAI is also proposing for a tax relief of 100% in hotels corporate income tax for the entire 2020.

The group is also urging the Department of Labor and Employment to extend the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program to all hospitality industry’s staff.

Apart from wage subsidies, PHOAI is also proposing for tax holiday of all the industry’s workers and for the government to subsidized employees’ Social Security System and Pag-IBIG contribuitions up to end 2020. --KBK, GMA News