Amid the enhanced community quarantine to the whole island of Luzon, the Philippines opened its $524 million USD “war chest” to combat the COVID-19 pandemic with $271 million USD allocated to the tourism sector.
In a Facebook post, the government’s media arm has revealed the breakdown of the huge budget released for the COVID-19 crisis that is sweeping the country.
The Philippines finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III explained that the tourism sector will receive a majority of the emergency funds and said that it is the industry that is most affected by the COVID-19 epidemic. The funds will be sourced from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).
|The Philippine government Facebook post showing its planned emergency budget|
The Philippines’ National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has estimated that tourist arrivals in the country will be slashed by 1.4 million and that this will incur up to $3.6 billion USD in lost revenues. Moreover, 30,000 to 50,000 jobs may be lost amid the COVID-19 threat.
The Philippines is one of the top 10 countries that are most dependent on tourism. According to official-esta.com, there are 83 jobs for every 100 tourists. It is estimated that the tourism industries in the Philippines contributed 12.7% to the country’s total GDP in 2018.
Meanwhile, an additional $60 million USD will be mobilized to contribute directly to efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the acquisition of test kits. The funds came from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Asian Development Bank.
The country’s budget secretary Wendel Avisado said the allotments presented by the economic team are “tentative allocations” and the funds will be shifted to sectors where it is more needed or required.