State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has extended a total of P20.86 billion in outstanding loans to 1,081 cooperatives and farmers’ associations as of end-August, as it expressed its continued commitment to support the role of local co-ops in getting communities and the economy back on its feet amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the virtual celebration for Cooperative Month this October at the House of Representatives on Monday (October 5), with the theme, “Koop Kalinga sa Pandemya,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo assured cooperatives of readily available credit facilities with low interest rates to finance recovery projects and initiatives. The virtual event was hosted by the House Committee on Cooperatives Development, which is headed by Coop-NATCCO party-list Rep. Sabiniano Canama.
“As your long-time partner in growth, we in LANDBANK reaffirm our unwavering commitment and solidarity to the noble objectives of the cooperative sector. We recognize the important role of co-ops in helping revive the local economy, with your presence in communities, especially in the countryside,” said President Borromeo.
As of August 2020, LANDBANK said outstanding loans to the agriculture sector reached P224.66 billion, of which P20.86 billion was extended to farmers’ co-ops.
This amount includes P428 million in loans provided to cooperatives under the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) and the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF) administered with the Department of Agriculture (DA), as well as the Socialized Credit Program under the Sugarcane Industry Development Act (SCP-SIDA) in partnership with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA).
The LANDBANK-managed ACEF aims to increase productivity of farmers and fishers by providing the necessary credit to farmers and fishers and their cooperatives and associations, and micro and small-scale enterprises, for the acquisition and establishment of production, postharvest, and processing machineries, equipment and facilities, farm inputs and improvement. A maximum of P5 million can be availed by farmer and fishers cooperatives, associations, and micro and small enterprises.
The RCEF is mandated under the Rice Tariffication Law or Republic Act 11203 with a total of P10 billion to be allotted annually and will be incorporated under the General Appropriations Act to be used in boosting the agricultural productivity in the country and help the lives of farmers. Of this annual amount, P1 billion (P500 M per year for 2 years now) is allocated for credit which is being administered by LANDBANK.
Meanwhile SCP-SIDA is funded by 15 percent (or about P300 million) of the annual P2-billion fund allocated for the development of the country’s sugar industry.
President Borromeo said LANDBANK supports the government’s move to promote cooperatives and farmers’ associations—particularly those involved in the farming sector—as a means to achieve economies of scale and efficiency.
Alongside extending loans, LANDBANK will also be providing financial literacy trainings to 220 micro and small co-ops from 92 unbanked municipalities under the FIT-Coop Program. Together with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), the program is designed to help improve the business operations and strengthen the capacity of cooperatives to access formal credit.
Meanwhile, under the Bank’s SPEED PUV (Special Package for Environment-Friendly and Efficiently-Driven Public Utility Vehicles) Loan Program—which is implemented in partnership with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)—LANDBANK continues to accept and process loan applications from transport cooperatives. As of August this year, total loans approved for transport cooperatives reached P356 million for the acquisition of 197 modern units.
Last April, LANDBANK also launched the I-RESCUE (Interim REhabilitation Support to Cushion Unfavorably-affected Enterprises by Covid-19) Lending Program for cooperatives that offers additional credit and loan restructuring under more flexible terms and conditions.
“Once again, rest assured that LANDBANK stands shoulder to shoulder with you–our partners in cooperativism. Together, let us work our way to a new normal that promotes greater cooperation, resilience and sustained economic growth for one and all,” President Borromeo added.
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.