By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) has approved a one-year extension for the continuous provision of credit assistance and capacity development for the benefit of at least 60 agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs), which handle over 1,800 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) nationwide.
The extension of the Credit Assistance Program for Program Beneficiaries Development (CAP-PBD) was approved on April 14 through PARC Executive Committee Resolution No. 2020-SP-01, and it has a total project cost of P87.341 million.
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John R. Castriciones said the members of the PARC ExCom suggested the one-year term extension in order to help ARBs for their agricultural production activities.
“The 60 ARBOs are expected to be provided with P76 million (87 percent) credit assistance and P11.341 million (13 percent) capacity-building support,” he said.
Meanwhile, key officers and staff of ARBOs will be provided with training courses that will include agri-enterprise management and operations, governance and institution-building, and financial literacy, among many other things.
It was back in 1995 when the PARC ExCom first allocated from the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) credit funds for the CAP-PBD program to provide credit assistance to ARBOs, and it was extended twice.
When the CAP National Program Management Council (NPMC) held its meeting on January 30 this year, they agreed to extend the program for another one year from March 16, 2020 to March 15, 2021.
This will hopefully address the financing requirements of the potential newly-accessing ARBOs and their ARB–members who cannot access financing support from the Agrarian Production Credit Program (APCP), added the DAR Secretary.
Castriciones likewise said that the extension will also intensify loan collections from ARBOs with outstanding loans under the program.
“The program has significantly contributed to credit access of non-bankable ARBs with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and other financial institutions. As of December 31, 2019, a total of P392.20 million loans were released to 112 ARBOs which benefitted some 6,854 ARBs,” said Castriciones.
When the one-year extension reaches its end, Castriciones said a program assessment will be conducted by the DAR-Support Services Office, and the assessment report shall be submitted to the PARC Executive Committee for consideration.