The City in a forest and dubbed as the Eco-Tourism Capital of the Philippines declared P1.5 Billion worth of losses due to pandemic for the past three months and resulted to 7,000 individuals that were displaced or lost their jobs.
According to Puerto Princesa City Tourism Officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao, the said figures was based on the report of her office in the previous year, and the numbers of tourism displaced workers is only from the employed status as consolidated, excluding the informal sectors such as vendors and tricycle drivers that can sum up to an estimated 15,000 people.
“Losses natin in terms of receipts for the past 3 months the same as yung last year ay about P1.5 Billion, parang sinasabi natin na etung lahat ng establishment ay earning ng more than P500 million na were supposed to receive that, pero wala na, wala ng turista, yung P500 million a month ay malaking bagay,” Amurao said during an exclusive interview with Palawan Daily.
Originally, the City plans to formally open the tourism for local tourists on July 1, but with the recent COVID-19 cases surge, the plan was put on hold without definite date on pushing through. Amurao also explained why the City Government didn’t participate with the recovery plan of Department of Tourism, and the very reason why Tourism Sectary Bernadette Romulo Puyat visited the province last week.
“Hindi naman sa ayaw, pero right at the very beginning alam niya ang position ng City Government ng Office of the Secretary, in the first place ang punta nya dito is an invitation ng Governor to reopen, since tayo ay wala pa, alam naman nila na we are not ready and nag-signify naman si Mayor na wala tayong timelines na binigay to reopen,” Amurao said.
Amurao said they are about to finish the recovery plan for the City’s tourism which will be submitted any day from now to the City Government. The plan is based on the concern from different tourism stakeholders of Puerto Princesa that includes non-payment of tax till December and the launching of a platform that features seamless transaction with no direct cash payment which the City wants to try out first with the transport sector.
“Sa ngayon we are working on the reopening plan, we are pushing for the tax holiday until December, one of the major project proposal is the stimulus package na we will create our own, parang that is micro financing that can be easily access by all establishment, kasi ang belief ko na with all these kind of situation ang unang-una talagang i- capacitated ay the employers, because they are the key employee generators, it’s the private sector talaga kaya kailangan,” Amurao added.