By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Nancy Binay today backed the appeal of tourism stakeholders for the deferment of the payment of local taxes this year due to massive losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sana’y mapagbigyan ang ating mga tourism establishments sa hiling nilang deferment. Isa sa mga pinaka-naapektuhan ng pandemya ang tourism industry, kaya’t sana kahit kaunting leeway mabigyan man lang sila,” said Binay.
The Tourism Congress of the Philippines recently sent a letter to Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año seeking help in getting local government units to defer the payment of business taxes.
The TCP said it has received reports from its members that various LGUs have been issuing assessment fees for business taxes, with some assessments based on 2019 income.
The senator said tourism establishments shouldn’t be expected to be able to pay their taxes based on un-adjusted assessments, given that the sector had ground to a halt after the first quarter of 2020 after travel restrictions were imposed.
The country’s tourism receipts fell by 81 percent to PHP81.05 billion from January to November 2020, from PHP437.9 billion in the same period in 2019.
“Naiintindihan naman natin ang side ng mga LGUs. After all, taxes are the lifeblood of public services. But these establishments are also part of their constituency and they provide jobs for our people. Baka tuluyan na silang magsara kung pipiliting magbayad nang hindi naman talaga kaya,” Binay said.
She also urged the government, particularly the DILG and LGUs to engage in dialogue with tourism stakeholders to determine a solution to the latter’s request for concessions seen to aid the industry’s recovery.
Tourism stakeholders had earlier recommended the waiving of corporate and individual taxes for 2020 for accredited tourism stakeholders and the waiving of payments for licenses and permits for 2020 and 2021.
“Sana’y magkaroon ng masinsinang paguusap para makahanap ng compromise, recognizing the need for both the national and local governments to raise funds for their own programs, and the survival of the industry,” Binay said. (AI/MTVN)