Odette-hurt tourism properties, banks linked for easy financing

·2 min read

THE Provincial Government of Cebu has expanded its Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD) program to include the tourism sector and help stakeholders fast-track the rebuilding of their properties damaged by typhoon Odette.

On Tuesday, January 4, 2022, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia convened the tourism stakeholders, mostly resort owners in typhoon Odette-hit areas in Cebu province, and three government financial institutions to discuss the lending programs offered by each bank and the move of Cebu Province to include the sector in the ECD program previously offered to farmers and fisherfolk.

Garcia specifically asked the Philippine Veterans Bank, Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines to create a specific financing window for the tourism industry and offer loan financing with an interest rate not higher than five percent per annum.

“I asked them to make it (financial assistance) as accessible as possible and ease the payment terms that they usually impose on their clients on normal times because (where we are now) is not normal times,” said Garcia during the forum streamed online via Sugbo News.

Garcia added she is still negotiating with the banks to further lower the interest rate to further ease the burden on the tourism sector.

She also emphasized that she will prioritize establishments that are accredited with the Department of Tourism and those that have obtained the Provincial Certificate of Compliance to benefit from this expanded program.

Some 122 tourism stakeholders attended the meeting.

One-stop-shop event

In an interview, Department of Tourism 7 Director Shahlimar Tamano said this is a welcome development, especially for small and medium-sized tourism businesses whose properties were wrecked by Typhoon Odette (Rai) when it hit some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao on December 16, 2021.

Tamano also said the governor will be mounting a three-day one-stop-shop event in the first week of February so loan applicants could meet these banks for loan consultation and processing.

“We are very grateful for these interventions initiated by Gov. Gwen Garcia, especially that we are still in the state of a pandemic and a calamity,” said Tamano, also the vice-chariman of the Cebu Provincial Tourism Task Force.

Bank officials are hopeful that many stakeholders will subscribe to the program so they could speed up the recovery and rebuilding of Cebu’s tourism sector.

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