By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
From natural calamities such as the eruption of Taal Volcano to viral infection outbreaks such as the African Swine Fever (ASF), state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) hopes to cover more in its expanded loan program for calamity support.
A statement showed that LANDBANK has expanded its Calamity Rehabilitation Support (CARES) program in order to provide financial support to more sectors severely affected by natural calamities such as the eruption of Taal Volcano, man-made disasters like armed conflicts, and viral infection outbreaks such as the African Swine Fever (ASF).
To recall, Taal Volvano eruption so far causing as much as ₱3.23 billion damage to agriculture sector, while the DA hasn’t fully gotten rid of ASF, which just recently began killing pigs in Mindanao region.
Under LANDBANK’s enhanced CARES Program, individual small farmers and fishers, livestock raisers, large agri-enterprises (LAEs), salaried workers, and academic institutions such as schools, universities and colleges, have been added as eligible borrowers.
This complements the existing eligible borrowers under the program, namely local government units (LGUs), disaster-affected home owners, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), cooperatives, non-government organizations (NGOs), and partner financial institutions (PFIs) such as rural banks.
The program consists of two types of credit assistance — rehabilitation/reconstruction credit program and rehabilitation through loan restructuring — which may be used for the repair of damaged facilities, construction or acquisition of new facilities and equipment, repair or purchase of housing units, working capital for agriculture production, and as capital for a lending facility of cooperatives, SMEs and NGOs for home and livelihood financing.
LANDBANK announced this as it provided a total of ₱3.3 million in financial assistance to 44 LGUs in the Provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Laguna amid the Taal Volcano eruption.
The amount of donated funds varied depending on the extent of damage sustained by the LGU, in accordance with the Bank’s existing policies on donations, the bank explained.
“More than 150,000 residents have been displaced in communities surrounding Taal Volcano. They are now housed in hundreds of evacuation centers in nearby cities and municipalities. With the volume of evacuees, LGUs hosting these centers need all the help they can get. This is our way of supporting the LGUs, which are among the Bank’s most valued clients,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo.