In a Go Negosyo Forum held last September 13, Eric Teng, President of Resto Philippines (Resto PH) lamented the government’s labelling of the restaurant industry as a “non-essential business entity”, saying the terms were “very hurtful, very violent and very cruel.”
Teng appealed to the government by stating that the industry must be referred to as a “disabled industry of Covid19”, and that “like any disabled person”, discounts and support should be afforded to them as well.
He also stated that despite the sector having over 250 restaurants, salons, spas, and gyms, officials have never reached out to them before, despite being categorized in the “3Cs” (close, crowded, close-contact establishments) under the new lockdown classification scheme.
Industry leaders made calls to policymakers and have asked for support from the government, primarily, allowing them tax breaks and business incentives.
“When we’re only allowed 10% capacity, we should have a 90% discount from our taxes or any other government permits or fees. If we operate at 50%, we should also be supported halfway by the government,” Eric Teng said, describing the kind of tax break they were appealing for.
Present at the forum, Chief of the National Task Force Against Covid19 (NTF), Carlito Galvez Jr. and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, swore to mention the matter at the Inter-Agency Task Force meeting.
At the same time, former Vice President Jejomar Binay commented that the granular lockdown was merely an experiment; a way for the national government to pass down the burden of handling the pandemic to the local government units.
In 2019, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) presented a figure that showed that more than 2 million people were employed as part of the restaurant business, alone.