By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has summoned the top officials of two government financial institutions to a meeting in Malacañang this Wednesday on his proposal to provide easy credit facilities to farmers.
The President said he wanted to meet with Land Bank of the Philippines President (LBP) Alex Buenaventura and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairman Alberto Romulo amid concerns the institutions have not yet provided programs to support small borrowers particularly farmers.
“I will call them and they have to reprogram, they have to reconfigure their banking system,” Duterte said during the situation briefing on the damage caused by typhoon Ompong in Ilocos Norte.
“Yung Land Bank malaki na masyado, mayaman na and yet several times, I’ve been urging to go back to the farmers. ‘Yung mobile na bangko doon sila magpahiram. Until now it has not been done. Three years hence, matatapos na ako sa third year ko,” he said.
Duterte issued the directive after Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos appealed to the government to provide easy loans for small farmers and fisherfolk affected by the typhoon. She said farmers have complained of difficulties in securing credit from Land Bank due to its strict requirements.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol assured Marcos that the department could provide loan assistance to calamity-affected farmers and fisherfolk.
Piñol said under the Survival and Recovery (SURE) assistant program, they could avail of P25,000 credit “no collateral, no interest” at three years to pay.
Last April, the President called on Land Bank to reach out to the farmers and extend easy credit facilities. He said credit access was important to boost farm productivity and strengthen the country’s agricultural sector.
He said Land Bank is supposed to provide services for farmers but has “rambled on just like a commercial bank. “’Yang pera na yan, bitawan na ninyo, give it to farmers,” he said.