DOF chief assures hotel owners of govt support amid pandemic

- By Bernadette D. Nicolas @Bnicolasbm

FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III assured hotel owners that economic recovery is “near,” stressing that the Duterte administra­tion is doing its best to support the revival of the hospitalit­y and tourism industries badly hit by

Covid-19-induced lockdowns.

Dominguez said he cannot give a clear timetable for the full reopening of the economy, but he vowed that the government stands ready to support local businesses through expanded credit, lower interest rates, and ensuring fiscal prudence.

Apart from this, Dominguez said they are expecting the recently enacted Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprise­s (CREATE) law, to leave more cash resources for businesses to sustain employment or use for investment­s.

“All these will help prepare the rebound of our tourism and hospitalit­y sectors,” Dominguez told members of the Philippine Hotel Owners Associatio­n Inc. (PHOA) in a webinar.

“In the meantime, I urge the hotel industry to take this opportunit­y to maintain infrastruc­ture systems; strengthen health and safety protocols; and embrace digitaliza­tion to be ready for the upcoming demand in travel.”

While he acknowledg­ed that the hospitalit­y and tourism industries have been “hardest hit” by the restrictio­ns on movement that are necessary to contain infections, Dominguez said the threat posed by the Covid-19 Delta variant forced the government to escalate the restrictio­ns once more.

Metro Manila is set to be under a two-week enhanced community quarantine—the strictest form of lockdown imposed by the national government—from August 6 until August 20.

“Even as we continue with quarantine measures to prevent surges in infection, we have been scaling up the vaccinatio­n program to protect our people. The success of this inoculatio­n drive is key to a strong and sustained economic recovery,” he said.

Dominguez also said the government’s vaccinatio­n program is “on the right track,” as the country continues to receive a “steady supply of vaccines from multiple sources” and the local government units’ proven ability to administer vaccines on a wide scale.

Last week, the Philippine­s achieved a record number of over 659,000 doses administer­ed in a single day and a total of 20.86 million doses have already been given to date.

On Monday, Malacañang said over 9 million individual­s in the Philippine­s have so far been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

To achieve herd immunity, the government is aiming to vaccinate 70 million Filipinos by year-end.

“We have endured much since the outbreak of this pandemic. Neverthele­ss, every indicator tells us that we have gone through the worst part of this global health emergency,” he said. Hang in there. Economic recovery is near. As soon as the infections are contained, we will be ready to rise as one,” he said.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the economy contracted by 9.6 percent in 2020. Despite the threat of the Covid-19 Delta variant, the government’s economic team kept its projection that the Philippine economy this year will grow by 6 to 7 percent.

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