‘Concessions, not loans’

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    The provincial government of Bohol is proposing to channel part of the funds given under Bayanihan 2 to the tourism industry as concessional fund to bridge finance existing loans of tour operators.

    Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said in a press conference yesterday announcing the Philippine Travel Exchange the tourism sector does not need new loans but a concessional fund which will restructure existing loans and extend repayment to up to three years to give players a “breathing space.”

    Yap said the League of Governors will meet on Friday on how a mechanism can be arrived at to address the financing needs of tourism.

    “We are close to finding a solution. We are talking to Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines and the SB Corp. on a mechanism or instrument so (tourism players) can possibly take out loans to give them breathing space,” said Yap, citing transport operators.

    He said banks are not hibernarting as they continue collecting high interest rates and principal on loans.

    Yap said state banks were given P40 billion and SB Corp. another P6 billion under Bayanihan 2 using taxpayers money and should not be lending these funds at high interest rates.

    Yap also said there should be a criteria in determining which businesses affected by the pandemic will benefit from the fund.

    In the same press conference, Tourism Promotions Board chief operating officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones said the criteria which establishments will benefit from the fund, but the aim to cover both formal and informal sectors.

    Allones said the Department of Tourism and the Departtment of Labor and Employment are also crafting the guidelines on tourism workers qualified for assistance.

    Bayanihan 2 extends P10 billion fund to tourism, of which P6 billion will be lent to micro, small and medium enterprises with P3 billion allotted for displaced workers through cash-for-work and similar schemes.