Some 16,149 beneficiaries from the tourism industry in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic have availed of P80.745 million in financial aid under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, in a virtual ceremony yesterday, led the awarding of certificates to recipients of the Cash Assistance Program of the Department of Tourism and Department of Labor and Employment, as of April 22.
The one-time financial assistance of P5,000 each is provided under the DOLE’s Covid-19 Adjustment Measures Program and implemented through the Joint Memorandum Circular 2020-001 signed by Romulo-Puyat and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.
DOLE Western Visayas regional director Cyril Ticao presented some of the tourism enterprises, community-based tourism organizations, tour guides associations, and tourism support services, whose employees and members benefited from the program.
In Negros Occidental, the beneficiaries included employees of hotels, restaurants, spas, and farms.
Others were tour guides, mangrove growers, makers of handicraft and native products, and even tricycle and pedicab drivers.
Kareen Mae Cusay, human resources manager of Sugarland Hotel in Bacolod expressed her appreciation for the financial assistance to their 58 employees.
Jovelito Trecho, owner of JKN Fruit Farm in Talisay City, and Josephine Locsin, proprietor of Tumandok Crafts Industries based in Bago City, also thanked the DOT and DOLE for providing cash assistance to their workers.
Adornado Saldua of the Sipaway Island Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association in San Carlos City was also thankful for the financial aid they received from the government after their livelihood was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the virtual awarding rites, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson conveyed his gratitude and appreciation to both the DOLE and DOT “for the expedient assistance”.
He acknowledged that times have indeed been hard for the beneficiaries, but added that the government is trying its best to mitigate the ill effects of the pandemic.
“While waiting for the day that this crisis will end, let us remain resilient and adaptable. For now, please use the grant given to you judiciously,” Lacson told the beneficiaries.
In a video message, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the cash assistance is “more than a shot in the arm” for the beneficiaries from the city.
“We hope that this assistance will go a long way in uplifting their way of life. We thank the DOT and the DOLE for making this a reality. Thank you very much for the kindness and care for the people of Bacolod,” he said.*PNA