Landbank to submit plans for farmers after Duterte threat

Anna Mogato

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Landbank to submit plans for farmers after Duterte threat
The Land Bank of the Philippines says it is committed to helping farmers and fishermen, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to have it abolished

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) said it will be submitting a report detailing its plans and programs for agricultural institutions and farmers before July ends.

This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte again threatened to abolish Landbank during his 4th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 22, unless it submits a viable plan to help farmers within the month.

Duterte criticized the state-run financial institution for conducting a number of commercial transactions. Among these was the $85-million loan granted to the now-bankrupt Korean shipping firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines.

Landbank, in a statement on Tuesday, July 23, said it has always been “steadfast in pursuing [its] mandate of helping our small farmers and fishers, and the agricultural sector at large.”

It added that it will strengthen partnerships with cooperatives, farmers’ groups, government agencies, and local government units.

“As a matter of fact, together with the office of the provincial governor of Cotabato, we have a scheduled roadshow with initially 400 farmers, including those who never had financial access. This will just be the first of many,” Landbank said.

While Landbank has branches in all provinces, officials had said in a May briefing that they are seeking to expand by rolling out caravans to cover the unbanked and unserved areas.

Landbank president and chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said in that briefing that they would partner with the Department of Agrarian Reform to cover more beneficiaries.

In the 1st quarter of 2019, the bank’s loans to the agricultural sector grew 12% year-on-year to P13 billion, covering 128,496 small farmers and fishermen. This increase was credited to farmers taking out loans to improve their production. –

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