Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte wants the funding for small business loan program to go to building job-intensive tourism infrastructure.

Villafuerte made the proposal after the Small Business Corp. (SBCorp) reported that travel and tourism-related micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) availed of just P329 million worth of financing assistance.

“Travel and tourism-related MSMEs availed of just P329 million worth of financing assistance.”

The amount is only 8.22 percent of the P4 billion set aside as rescue package for the sector adversely affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).

P4 billion was allotted for travel and tourism-related loans under the “CARES for TRAVEL” (COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises-Tourism Rehabilitation and Vitalization of Enterprises and Livelihood).

“The CARES loans were interest-free and collateral-free, but the steep service fee cancelled out the fact that the financial aid was offered at zero interest,” the veteran legislator said.

“This had apparently turned off or scared away many prospective borrowers.”

“This had apparently turned off or scared away many prospective borrowers who were wondering how they would be able to pay back such loans when their establishments were still closed because of the community lockdowns and travel restrictions,” the seasoned lawmaker added.

He said the more effective move is to build tourism infrastructure nationwide to create jobs and quicken the recovery of the sector.

According to Villafuerte, had TIEZA been given the P10-billion fund to build various projects to improve facilities or make them more accessible to tourists, it would have generated a projected P35-billion worth of economic activities.



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