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Over 1.2k tourism workers receive Christmas packages

by PGIN-CMO

Jan. 07, 2021 ...

Through the Provincial Government's "Narimat a Paskua," (A Bright Christmas), a gift-giving initiative of Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, over 1,200 pandemic displaced tourism workers in Ilocos Norte celebrated a more cheerful holiday.

Leading the distribution of Noche Buena packages is the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office. Among the beneficiaries were the Ilocos Norte Tour Guides League, Ilocos Norte Travel Agencies Association, Accommodation Associations in Ilocos Norte, and other tourism workers.

"After everything that we've been through, we really should be thankful to be with our loved ones and enjoy a simple meal, and we are all healthy, and we have the opportunity to enjoy each other's presence.

We look forward to 2021 wherein I think will be a lot more enjoyable and easier on all of us. Of course, COVID-19 is still here and we know how to deal with it now. We will address the pandemic appropriately as we move forward," said Gov. Marcos Manotoc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for all stakeholders of the province's tourism sector since a large percentage of it is composed of small homegrown enterprises and family-owned businesses, thus, affecting a large number of informally-employed Ilokanos who are most vulnerable to a sudden loss of income during the peak tourism season. Containment measures and travel restrictions have led to a reduced workforce in the travel and accommodation industries. Also, the need for locally manufactured products and commodities has decreased.

Provincial officials and stakeholders have highlighted the need to implement "survival" measures—from temporary aid to alternative livelihood. As they collaborated, the improvement of the quality of life and guaranteeing overall safety while spurring again economic activities were prioritized. Among its rehabilitation programs are the Tourism and Livelihood Continuity Program, Heritage Livelihood Continuity Program, Buy IN Project, and a series of hyperlocal events, among others.

Overall, almost 43,000 beneficiaries received gift packages in the form of livelihood kits, business start-ups, agricultural equipment, vouchers, training, and financial assistance.