PRESIDENT CARLOS P. GARCIA, Bohol – Before becoming an emerging municipality, Boholanos often describe this island town as a gloomy ghost town with houses lit only by makeshift gas lamps, and fishers sailing the dark sea as the only traces of human activity at night.
As the only town separated from mainland Bohol, commerce in the municipality was not feasible. Residents relied only on artisanal fishing, farming and mat weaving for daily subsistence.
The movement of people and commodities to and from the locality used to be risky, challenging and expensive as the only available means of sea transportation was through small outrigger pump boats.
When the proposal of connecting the municipality to the mainland through a bridge proved to be impractical and too costly, the municipal government opted to acquire a Landing Craft Transport sea vessel to serve as a moving bridge.
With a P55-million term loan from Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) in 2018, the municipality acquired Isla de Pitogo which can accommodate up to nine big passenger buses.
On February 4, 2019, the vessel began commercial operations, and provided passengers with a safe, comfortable and affordable transportation. It also opened up the municipality to commerce and tourism, as consumer items and other goods started to pour in, including construction materials for the town’s infrastructure projects.
“The landing craft sea vessel was a game changer. It became our first step to development. The vessel connected us to the rest of Bohol, and helped open up our municipality to progress and development,” said Municipal Mayor Fernando B. Estavilla.
Local fishers and farmers of rice, corn, coconuts, root crops, fruits and vegetables also benefitted with the inter-island vessel in transporting their catch and produce to as far as Tagbilaran City.
The operations of sea vessel also provided jobs to at least 35 residents who man the port in Barangay Popoo, and onboard the vessel. Establishments catering to the growing trade and commerce in the area also generated additional employment.
One of LANDBANK’s main objectives is to support Local Government Units (LGUs) nationwide. As of September 30, 2020, LANDBANK has extended loans to LGUs amounting to P51.38 billion. A significant portion of this, or P17.25 billion, represents loans used to finance the agri-aqua projects of LGUs, including farm-to-market roads, slaughter house, and irrigation.
Just recently, LANDBANK launched the RISE UP LGUs (Restoration and Invigoration package for a Self-sufficient Economy towards UPgrowth for LGUs) Lending Program to help LGUs recover post COVID-19. With a program fund allocation of P20 billion, the Bank targets to finance the recovery and rehabilitation projects of provincial, city and municipal LGUs toward stronger and more resilient communities.
For more information about LANDBANK’s Lending Programs, interested borrowers may contact the nearest open LANDBANK Lending Center or Branch nationwide, or call LANDBANK’s customer service hotline at (02) 8-405-7000 or at PLDT Domestic Toll Free 1-800-10-405-7000.