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COVID is Hurting Us All: 75,000 Hotel Workers May Lose Their Jobs

Some hotels have already laid off employees.
by Clara Rosales
May 27, 2020
Photo/s: Pixabay / davidlee770924

It seems no industry or business has been spared from the wrath of COVID-19.

Around 75,000 staff and workers in the hotel and accommodation industry could lose their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Philippine Hotel Owners Association Inc. (PHOAI).

This projection is based on the number of hotel rooms in the country, which is about 63,500 to 75,000, said PHOAI legislative and liaison officer Rafael Chico in a Dobol B sa News TV interview.

If there’s one employee for every room, Chico said there would be around more or less 75,000 hotel staff and workers that could be displaced.

“Nasa 70% to 80% hindi na nago-operate na dahil lockdown ‘yan so expect na napakalaki ng lugi ng mga hotels natin,” he said.

“Ngayon kasi nago-operate lang ay selected hotels lang, sila naman ay dalawang bagay yan,” he added, mentioning hotels functioning as quarantine facilities for health workers, returning OFWs, and foreign travelers stuck in the country.

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Chico also said that accommodation establishments could operate at a limited capacity of 50% in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine. This is in line with the Department of Tourism Administrative Order 2020-002.

“For the hotels to survive, definitely, they have to reduce expenses, administrative, operating, and salaries. Maapektuhan ang mga manggagawa, nakakaawa po,” he said.

On May 26, Okada Manila, a resort-casino in Parañaque City, already informed its staff that it is reducing its workforce due to the revenue losses brought about by the pandemic. The hotel has let go of about 1,000 employees. Other hotels could follow suit.

Pushing the hotel industry back on its feet is no easy feat, but the PHOAI has called on several agencies and authorities for some assistance.

According to Chico, PHOAI is proposing to the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas for a 400 basis points reductions in banks’ reserve requirement in order to back the industry’s operations.

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They’re also hoping for a reduction in interest rates to make affordable credit more accessible. Government banks are urged to provide 2-year short-term loans to hotels that have reopened.

PHOAI is also eyeing a 100% tax relief in hotels corporate income for the entire year of 2020.

As for the affected employees, the group looks to the Department of Labor and Employment to cover the industry’s staff and workers under the COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program.

The list only grows longer, as PHOAI is also proposing that the industry’s workers don’t pay tax, or pay a reduced amount. Lastly, the group proposes that the government covers the employees’ Social Security System and Pag-IBIG contributions up to the end of 2020. 

Main image from davidlee770924 on Pixabay.