SEN. Francis Tolentino on Monday said the government should also help micro businesses in key tourist destinations whose operations have been paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“An estimated 80 percent sa mga negosyo sa ating tourist spots ay micro businesses. Baka magaya tayo sa US na ang nakinabang lang ay ‘yung malalaking negosyo (Some 80 percent of the businesses in our tourist spots are micro businesses. We would like to avoid what transpired in the United States, where only the big businesses benefited),” Tolentino said during the interpellation of Senate Bill (SB) 1564 or the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act.”
SB 1564 provides a stimulus package for businesses and industries to jumpstart the economy that has been severely battered by the pandemic.
Tolentino told the bill’s principal sponsor, Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, that micro businesses also needed assistance from the government to get back on their feet.
The senator, who heads the local government committee, suggested that the bill include the creation of a tourism roadmap, which would include ways to address concerns of micro businesses in tourist destinations once domestic tourism is allowed in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas.
“This bill should include ways on how to jumpstart our tourism industry. The creation of a roadmap would provide us with a glimpse on how our tourism would address this. Paano ba babangon ang tourism natin (How can our tourism industry revive)?” said Tolentino.
“There is no more opportune time than to help the tourism industry than today,” he added.
The roadmap should also include how the traditional festivities could be conducted within the “new normal,” which Tolentino considers as drivers of the tourism industry.
Tolentino also wants local government units to extend help to micro businesses in their areas by providing grants through the Barangay Micro Business Enterprises Act.