WITH the recent signing of the P165 billion Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) law, business leaders in Cebu are calling for the immediate support to the tourism industry to avoid its collapse.
The economic stimulus appropriates the biggest chunk of P39 billion for severely affected sectors like the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and tourism.
“We hope our national government through the concerned local departments will have more funds for our struggling MSMEs. We have to support tourism-oriented businesses also through local travel bubbles,” said Felix Taguiam, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Taguiam said there are many sectors to be considered in terms of funding allocation as there are still many businesses that have not reopened, especially the food and beverage industry.
“Although government agencies have been lending support, the industry still needs a lot (of funding) for long-term sustainability,” he said.
He added that the chamber is working on a roadmap for Cebu’s economic revival.
Steven Yu, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, on the other hand, welcomed the passage of the Bayanihan 2, saying it is a “great relief” especially to the local economy.
“The stimulus packages to businesses, and the guarantees to loans for the business sector should be among the priorities, especially at this juncture that we are going all-out in trying to revive the economy, businesses and consumer confidence,” he said.
After six months of economic contraction, Yu stressed there is no turning back, and stakeholders should go full speed in opening up the economy before it’s too late.
“Tourism in particular has to be supported to avoid its collapse. Many livelihoods depend on tourism in Cebu. While health and safety protocol should continue to be implemented, there is a way that it can co-exist with a robust business environment,” he added.
In addition, Yu said he hoped that the Bayanihan 2 will be followed by another set of stimulus packages before the year ends.
“Per our assessment, we need more stimulus as the P165 billion Bayanihan 2 is simply not enough. The effects of the five- month strict lockdown will continue to be felt towards the year 2022. There will be no livelihood if the businesses are struggling,” he said.