Sonny: Low-interest loans from SBCorp to help revive tourism industry

Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday called on the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) to use unspent funds from Bayanihan to recover in one act (Bayanihan 2) to help tourism industry players to prepare for the restart of activities after almost two years of hibernation.

As a sponsor of Bayanihan 2, Angara said significant funding has been earmarked for aid to tourism, one of the hardest hit sectors since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

Based on data from SBCorp, a total of P4 billion has been allocated under B2 for providing low interest loans to the tourism sector.

In a recent statement, SBCorp said only 278 million pesos in loans to the tourism sector had been approved as of February 28, 2022, while an additional 524 million pesos are “in process”.

“Many tourism industry players were hesitant to take loans and this was understandable as many were unwilling to resume operations as quarantine classifications constantly changed,” Angara said.

“But now that more people are vaccinated and the number of COVID cases has gone down, the country has opened its doors to foreign and domestic tourism,” he said.

“The barely used loan facility will help revive the operations of tourism stakeholders in anticipation of the influx of arrivals,” added Angara, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

The Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has relaxed its rules regarding foreign tourist arrivals by allowing fully vaccinated people to enter the country.

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