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LANDBANK certified anew to ISO standards amid pandemic

  State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has secured continuous certification for ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS) and ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS) standards until December 2022, underscoring the Bank’s steadfast commitment to delivering quality financial and support services towards promoting sustainable and inclusive development. Certification International Philippines, Inc. (CIP)—a local consulting company that specializes in ISO recognition—completed the remote second surveillance audit of the Bank’s Head Office, 13 branches, and four field units from July to September 2021. “This recognition is in line with our thrust to promote excellent customer service as part of serving the nation. Next year, we will raise the bar even higher by expanding our performance commitments to include the continued certification to the EMS standards to fully comply with the Sustainable Finance Framework of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP),” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. During the closing meeting on 29 September 2021, CIP commended LANDBANK’s Management System and personnel for its adaptability to the changing demographics, risks, market demands, and innovations in the industry while navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. “The commitment of the competent LANDBANK personnel is a key driver in its successful maintenance of the Integrated Management System (IMS). LANDBANK remains very strong and is even stronger during the pandemic,” CIP said. CIP also gave positive feedback to the Bank’s regular conduct of Management Review and Field Unit staff meetings, which was classified as an excellent way of constantly reviewing the Bank’s performance. The Bank was also commended for its consistency in upholding internal policies and procedures from the head office to the field units, as sampled units continued to achieve high targets despite the challenging task of physically reporting for work at the height of the pandemic. ISO 9001:2015 is an international standard dedicated to Quality Management Systems (QMS). It outlines a framework for improving quality and a vocabulary of understanding for any organization looking to provide products and services that consistently meet the requirements and expectations of customers and other relevant interested parties in the most efficient manner possible. LANDBANK’s continued certification to the QMS standards is part of its 2021 performance commitments to the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), while the EMS standards signifies the Bank’s continued commitment to the preservation of the environment and the efficient management of its resources.

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LANDBANK retail dollar bond sales top US$205-M

  The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) contributed US$205.27 million or close to 13% of the US$1.593 billion generated from the maiden Retail Dollar Bond (RDB) offering of the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr). The proceeds will fund infrastructure projects and boost health services to fast-track the country’s ongoing economic resurgence, after suffering from debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 15 September to 1 October 2021, the state-run Bank sold the RDB offer through various investment channels, which allowed Filipino retail investors worldwide to participate in the said offering safely and conveniently. Of LANDBANK’s total RDB sales, US$95 million was raised during the rate-setting auction at the launch event held on September 15. The remaining US$109.94 million and US$329,700 were facilitated via over-the-counter placements at LANDBANK branches and online channels, respectively. About US$203,500 of LANDBANK’s RDB sales online was facilitated through the mobile banking application (MBA) of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank)—the official digital bank of the Philippine government and a subsidiary of LANDBANK. Likewise, US$107,800 was transacted using the LANDBANK MBA, while the remaining US$18,400 was processed through the BTr’s Online Ordering Facility via LANDBANK’s Link.BizPortal. “A significant draw to the RDB offering was the availability of various investment channels that provided greater convenience and accessibility to retail investors worldwide. The wide participation in this offering also demonstrates the increasing appreciation for the government’s affordable and higher-yielding investment instruments that spur economic recovery and development,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. The RDBs are United States (US) dollar-denominated bonds offered at a minimum investment of US$300 and increments of US$100 thereafter, with annual interest rates of 1.375% and 2.25% for the five- and 10-year bonds, respectively. Interest payments will be paid quarterly during the term of the bond. LANDBANK is Joint Lead Issue Manager for the RDB issuance, as part of its continued support to advance greater financial inclusion and raise state resources for timely and responsive recovery and development initiatives.

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LANDBANK’s P50-M loan ‘links’ La Union town to a promising future

  ARINGAY, La Union – The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has approved a P50-million term loan of the Municipal Government of Aringay for the construction of a three-span bridge which is expected to boost growth and progress for the town’s underdeveloped areas. The new bridge will be built between Barangay San Juan East and Barangay San Juan West to connect seven isolated barangays of Aringay to the town proper, thereby making the transport of agricultural goods and access to essential services safer, easier, and more efficient. Upon completion of the bridge, farmers from the seven barangays can conveniently transport their harvests directly to Aringay’s public market instead of bringing these to Baguio City in Benguet. They will also no longer need to cross a river using a raft or pass through other perilous routes during heavy rains that often add to costs. The more than 14,800 residents from the seven barangays can also safely reach the town proper to access essential services, such as medical assistance, without the risk that comes with crossing the river. The P50-million term loan of the Municipal Government of Aringay was approved under the LANDBANK RISE UP LGUs (Restoration and Invigoration Package for a Self-sufficient Economy towards UPgrowth for LGUs) Lending Program, designed to support local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of their respective economic recovery plans. “LANDBANK is fully committed to servicing the infrastructure requirements of our LGU partners to fast-track the recovery of local communities. These projects are crucial to spur economic activities towards inclusive and sustainable development,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. As of 31 August 2021, LANDBANK has approved loans for 322 LGUs under the RISE UP LGUs Program totaling P88.42 billion.  “Napakalaking tulong ang maibibigay ng tulay para sa pagpapaunlad ng produktong agrikultura at sa ikabubuti ng mga residente ng Aringay. Tatlumpung taong hinanapan ng pondo ang proyektong ito para ito’y maisakatuparan. Nagpapasalamat kami sa programa ng LANDBANK at sa kanilang matiyagang paggabay at pagsubaybay dahil nabigyan kami ng pagkakataong matupad ang adhikaing matagal naming minimithi,” said Aringay Mayor Eric O. Sibuma. LANDBANK is one with LGUs nationwide in implementing various development projects and in serving the nation as it threads the path to recovery and resiliency amid the ongoing pandemic.

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LANDBANK, Pangasinan LGU sign P500-million loan to boost income of rice farmers

Pangasinan Governor Amado I. Espino III (2nd from left) and LANDBANK Pangasinan Lending Center Head, Assistant Vice President Jaime S. Cruz (3rd from left), sign a P500-million loan agreement on 24 September 2021 at the Provincial Capitol in Lingayen, Pangasinan to help boost the income of rice farmers in the province. They are joined by Provincial Administrator Atty. Nimrod S. Camba (leftmost) and LANDBANK Lingayen Branch Head, Assistant Vice President Kathleen D. Fernandez (rightmost). LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Provincial Government of Pangasinan have signed a P500-million loan to finance agricultural projects aimed at boosting the productivity and income of local rice farmers in the Province of Pangasinan. Under the LANDBANK Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan Lending Program, P400 million of the total loan will be used by the Local Government Unit (LGU) to purchase palay produced by small farmers with less than two (2) hectares of land each. Around 20,000,000 kilos of palay will be purchased by the Provincial LGU at higher prices than the prevailing market in the Province benefitting around 16,000 farmers in Pangasinan. The Provincial Government shall process the milling of the purchased palay and sell them to 14 provincial government-owned hospitals, the Pangasinan Provincial Jail, as well as other LGUs as part of relief operations and other related social services. The rice may also be distributed to Bigasan ng Bayan centers owned by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to be sold to local communities. The remaining P100 million will be used for the construction of a second Rice Processing Complex (RPC) in Pangasinan, together with the purchase of a rice mill, dryer, and industrial vehicles to transport agriculture products. “LANDBANK continues to answer the call of small farmers for an assured market and reasonable prices for their produce. We stand together with our LGU partners towards helping farmers increase their productivity and income, especially during this ongoing pandemic,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Through the Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan Program, LANDBANK has approved loans amounting to P3.78 billion to eight (8) LGU-borrowers intended for palay procurement and acquisition of farm machineries and equipment (post-harvest facilities). Of this amount, P115 million has been availed by two (2) LGUs as working capital loan for palay procurement, benefitting more than 1,800 small farmers as of August 2021. From January to August 2021, LANDBANK has extended a total of P21.27 billion in outstanding loans in support of agri- and aquaculture projects of LGUs nationwide. LANDBANK remains committed to providing intensified support to the agriculture sector to fast-track its growth and recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

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LANDBANK paves the way for 1.5K Payatas families to become landowners

More than 1,500 families struggling to get decent housing in Payatas, Quezon City will now have the opportunity to own the land they have been living in for over four decades after the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) agreed to sell its property at a lower price. The state-owned Bank recently sold to the Quezon City Government its 96,169-square-meter property covering 157 parcels of land in Barangay Payatas in the amount of P209 million or P48 million less than the original offer of P257 million, paving the way for the urban dwellers to acquire land security tenure. “LANDBANK is proud to be instrumental in fulfilling the dreams of 1,500 families in Payatas to finally own the land they have been occupying for the past forty years. As a universal bank with a social mandate, we are committed to supporting our local government partners in providing affordable housing and other basic necessities to their constituents,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. The City Government will implement a direct sale program to award the land, wherein families will pay for the area they are occupying at P3,000 per square meter. “Malaki po ang pasasalamat namin sa LANDBANK dahil you agreed to enter into negotiations with the City Government para maibigay po sa tao ang matagal na nilang tinitirahang mga lupa,” said Quezon City Mayor Ma. Josefina “Joy” G. Belmonte during a ceremonial awarding of the Deed of Conditional Sale by LANDBANK to the Quezon City Government last 25 September 2021. Alongside extending loans to the agriculture sector, LANDBANK’s efforts toward national development involve extending support to the socioeconomic programs of local government partners, aimed at enhancing the quality of life of their constituents and promoting sustainable and inclusive growth.

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LANDBANK lends financial muscle to DA-Go Negosyo agri program

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has partnered with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Go Negosyo to support their existing coaching program and service the financial requirements of eligible farmers, fishers, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide. Under the Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program (KAMMP), LANDBANK will facilitate loan applications and provide credit assistance to graduate-mentees coached and trained by Go Negosyo and DA. The Bank will also assist in the development of new training and mentorship modules for startup and expanding agribusiness ventures. During the virtual Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing ceremony on 20 September 2021, LANDBANK welcomed the opportunity to match its loan programs with the specific requirements of eligible KAMMP graduates and provide accessible and affordable credit assistance to support their livelihood. “We are proud to be part of this meaningful and timely undertaking tailored to the needs of the agriculture sector. This is aligned with our ongoing efforts in widening credit access to farmers, fishers, and MSMEs nationwide,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Secretary Joey A. Concepcion highlighted the impact of LANDBANK’s involvement in KAMMP towards achieving its goal under the Mentorship, Market, and Money (3Ms) Principle. “These efforts from LANDBANK to provide financing to entrepreneurs under KAMMP are definitely a welcome development. I would like to thank Secretary Dar and President Borromeo for joining forces with Go Negosyo to really try and improve the lives of the Filipino people,” said Presidential Adviser Concepcion. For his part, DA Secretary William D. Dar noted the importance of adapting digital innovations to transform agriculture in the country. “Mahalaga po ang technology and innovation as part of this mentorship program para sa gano’n ay madagdagan ang kaalaman ng mga nagnenegosyo sa agrikultura at mapadali ang kanilang paghahanap-buhay,” said Secretary Dar. LANDBANK is looking to launch within the year its Digital Lending System (DLS), which will facilitate online loan applications for the safety and convenience of farmers and fishers. This move is in line with the National Government’s health and safety protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its Ease of Doing Business campaign. From January to July 2021, LANDBANK has conducted 20 virtual trainings for 168 cooperatives nationwide facilitated by the LANDBANK Countryside Development Foundation, Inc. (LCDFI), while 85 MSMEs have attended the Bank’s new webinars from July to August 2021 to strengthen their recovery strategy under the new normal. LANDBANK’s partnership with DA and Go Negosyo builds on the Bank’s ongoing efforts to provide accessible and timely agricultural credit as part of serving the nation.

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LANDBANK-funded oxygen-generating plants breathe hope to provincial hospitals

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has approved a P94.5-million term loan for the construction of the first government-owned oxygen-generating plant in the Province of Sorsogon. In partnership with the Provincial Government of Sorsogon under the leadership of Gov. Francis Joseph G. Escudero, LANDBANK will finance the purchase and installation of the oxygen-generating facility to be stationed at the Sorsogon Provincial Hospital. This will help increase the supply of medical oxygen to all nine (9) government hospitals in the province and benefit its more than 800,000 residents, as well as those from other neighboring provinces. The establishment of this facility is part of the local government’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, particularly now with the rising demand for medical oxygen caused by the recent surge in infections. The plant will also help lower the costs for tank refilling from P490 per tank to only P157. At present, the province sources medical oxygen from only one supplier in Camarines Sur. The P94.5-million financing for the oxygen plant—which is expected to be completed in early 2022—forms part of LANDBANK’s intensified support to LGUs nationwide in providing basic health services, especially amid the ongoing pandemic. “LANDBANK remains committed to serving the nation at the frontlines of our battle against the pandemic. Alongside our LGU partners, we stand ready to service growth and recovery requirements, which include boosting local healthcare services and providing support to medical frontliners and their constituents,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. LANDBANK also financed a P29-million oxygen plant for the Provincial Government of Negros Occidental in 2010. Located in the City of Silay, the LANDBANK-funded facility has been supplying medical-grade oxygen to almost all district hospitals in the province for the past 10 years. Since the onset of the pandemic last year, the oxygen plant has been providing free medical oxygen to local public health institutions and COVID-isolation facilities, namely the Cadiz City District Hospital, Valladolid District Hospital, Provincial Healing Center in E.B. Magalona, and the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.

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LANDBANK, LTFRB partner for faster cash payout to PUV operators

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has teamed up with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in the relaunch of the Service Contracting Program for public utility vehicle (PUV) operators to ensure quicker and more efficient disbursement of cash payments. With a Program fund of P3 billion, LANDBANK will facilitate the crediting of cash payments to eligible PUV operators through their existing LANDBANK accounts and other partner outlets via InstaPay or PESONet.  Under the Program, qualified PUV operators will receive the payouts weekly while providing free rides to frontline healthcare workers and Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs) to support their mobility requirements during the ongoing pandemic. In the virtual launch of the Service Contracting Program Phase 2 held on 10 September 2021, LANDBANK expressed its commitment to help provide PUV operators and drivers nationwide with sustainable livelihood amid reduced ridership resulting from Community Quarantine periods. “We welcome this collaboration under the Service Contracting Program Phase 2 to deliver prompt financial assistance to PUV operators nationwide towards ensuring the efficient, safe, and uninterrupted operations of public transportation under the new normal,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. During the virtual launch event, the LTFRB encouraged participants of the Program to open a LANDBANK account so they can quickly receive the payouts, as disbursement to other accounts will take longer due to additional processes. “We have encouraged and suggested na ‘yung lalahok dito sa Service Contracting Program ay kukuha at mag-oopen ng LANDBANK account para diretso na agad sa kanila, in real-time po ang pagbabayad,” said LTFRB Chairman Atty. Martin B. Delgra III. LANDBANK is committed to contribute to the National Government’s continuing efforts to advance the country’s transportation sector and provide the riding public safe, secure, and convenient transport services in the new normal. Through the SPEED PUV (Special Package for Environment-Friendly and Efficiently-Driven Public Utility Vehicles) and the I-RESCUE for BUS Transport Lending Programs, LANDBANK supports the purchase of modern public utility jeepneys and buses by providing affordable financing to transport cooperatives and corporations. As of August 2021, the Bank has approved P2.32 billion in loans for the acquisition of 1,093 modern units under the SPEED PUV, while another P4 billion is being processed for 43 additional loan applications.

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Investing in BTR’s Retail Dollar Bonds made easier via LANDBANK channels

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) presents more convenient investment channels for the public to participate in the Bureau of the Treasury’s (BTr) first-ever Retail Dollar Bond (RDB) offering in the country. Launched on 15 September 2021, the RDBs are United States (US) dollar-denominated bonds that allow retail investors to mobilize and grow their savings while helping fund the National Government’s recovery and resiliency programs. The RDBs—available at a minimum investment of US$300 and increments of US$100 thereafter—can be purchased using either US dollar or Philippine peso accounts. For the latter, LANDBANK will facilitate the currency conversion of peso to US dollar to access the bonds, including the interest and principal payments. For the first time, interested investors can use the LANDBANK Mobile Banking App (MBA) to purchase the RDBs and complete the transaction in as fast as five minutes, even less. This feature is also available in the Mobile Banking App of the Overseas Filipino Bank (OFBank), the official digital bank of the Philippine government and a subsidiary of LANDBANK. Investors can also make online placements for the RDBs through the BTr Online Ordering Platform and settle the payments via the LANDBANK Link.BizPortal online payment facility. Over-the-counter placements are also accepted in all LANDBANK branches nationwide. “We are inviting the investing public to support the BTr’s Retail Dollar Bonds offering to expand their portfolio and contribute directly to the government’s recovery and development agenda. Through LANDBANK’s online investment channels, individual investors worldwide can invest safely and conveniently in these bonds that offer relatively higher returns,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. LANDBANK serves as the Joint Lead Issue Manager for the RDB issuance, as part of its continued support to advancing greater financial inclusion and boosting the state’s resources to fund various recovery and development projects.  

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LANDBANK onboards 5.3-M unbanked PhilSys registrants

State-run Land Bank of the Philippines’ (LANDBANK) continues its collaboration with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) Project to bring unbanked Filipinos into the country’s financial system and allow them access to a wide range of banking services. As of 2 September 2021, LANDBANK has onboarded 5.3 million unbanked PhilSys registrants for their own transaction accounts through account opening booths at select PhilSys co-location areas nationwide. The registrants have already utilized the LANDBANK prepaid cards for various transactions amounting to P31.8 million. The PhilSys registrants can use the LANDBANK prepaid cards to safely and conveniently manage funds, withdraw cash, perform cashless transactions, shop and pay bills online, and receive government subsidies digitally. “Bringing unbanked Filipinos into the financial mainstream lays the groundwork for inclusive growth, especially as we fast-track initiatives toward economic recovery and sustained development. Access to formal banking services encourages people to save money, repay loans, invest in financial products, and guides them to financial independence,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. Unbanked PhilSys registrants may sign up for LANDBANK transaction accounts once they complete the PhilSys Step 2 registration, which covers validating supporting documents and capturing biometrics information. PhilSys registrants can also activate their LANDBANK prepaid cards and perform their transactions through the LANDBANK Mobile Branches, which are deployed to communities across the country with disrupted or limited access to banking services. The LANDBANK Mobile Branch is designed to service unbanked and underserved communities and areas affected by disasters, calamities, and other disruptive events, which form part of LANDBANK’s intensified efforts to advance greater financial inclusion in the country. LANDBANK affirms its commitment to support the PhilSys Project by co-locating with the PSA to reach more of the unbanked population in support of the National Government’s target of providing at least one bank account for every Filipino household by the end of this year.

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LANDBANK, Converge ICT sign P3-B loan to boost internet coverage

LANDBANK and Converge sign a P3-billion loan agreement to provide fast and reliable internet connectivity to more subscribers nationwide. The virtual signing ceremony on August 27, 2021, was led by (upper row from left) Converge CEO Dennis Anthony H. Uy, Converge President Maria Grace Y. Uy, and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. They were joined by (lower row from left) Converge Deputy Chief Finance Officer Christine Renee R. Blabagno and LANDBANK officials, namely Agricultural and Development Lending Sector, Officer-in-Charge Senior Vice President Filipina B. Monje and Corporate Banking Group Head, Senior Vice President Ma. Celeste A. Burgos. State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) signed a P3-billion loan agreement with Converge Information and Communications Technology Solutions, Inc. (Converge) to help provide fast and reliable internet service to more subscribers nationwide. LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo alongside Converge CEO Dennis Anthony H. Uy and President Maria Grace Y. Uy led the virtual loan signing ceremony to support the fiber broadband service provider’s continuing terrestrial and subsea domestic network expansion and finance working capital requirements. They were joined by Converge Deputy Chief Finance Officer Christine Renee R. Blabagno and LANDBANK officials, namely Agricultural and Development Lending Sector Officer-in-Charge, Senior Vice President Filipina B. Monje and Corporate Banking Group Head, Senior Vice President Ma. Celeste A. Burgos. Also present during the signing ceremony was Converge Chief Financial Office Advisor Matthias Vukovich. During the virtual ceremony, LANDBANK emphasized the importance of investing in technology as more Filipinos adapt to a digital lifestyle due to the ongoing pandemic. “We are hopeful on this new partnership between LANDBANK and Converge  to ensure the delivery of fast and consistent internet services across the country. It is with urgency that we must support more users in adapting to home set-ups for work and education in the new normal. This is also aligned with LANDBANK’s thrust of leveraging on digital innovations to provide uninterrupted, safe, and timely financial solutions to our clients, especially the unbanked and underserved,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Borromeo. Converge  CEO Uy expressed his gratitude to LANDBANK for providing an accessible financial channel to expand their fiber footprint nationwide. “This loan financing brings us one step closer to our goal of connecting the unserved and underserved areas in the country. The available funds will help us reach into untapped markets and really ‘Go Deep’ into existing ones,” said CEO Uy during the virtual loan signing. Converge will utilize the credit support from LANDBANK for its continued network expansion across the country, broadening its distribution reach, and boosting international connectivity. The total loan package from LANDBANK will also include an additional short term loan line as well as a facility for its trade transactions amounting to up to P2 billion. In line with servicing the emerging needs of its clients in the new normal, LANDBANK successfully facilitated 73.5 million transactions amounting to P1.307 trillion through its five major e-banking channels from January to July 2021. This represented comparative year-on-year increases of 12% and 65%, respectively. As of July 2021, the Bank has also facilitated the opening of more than 1.7 million online accounts through its Digital On-boarding System or DOBS which digitizes the submission of account applications. LANDBANK also launched recently the DOBS Mobile which facilitates online savings account opening in as fast as 10 to 15 minutes. The LANDBANK DOBS Mobile eliminates the need to line up in branches to open an account, in support of the National Government’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiative, as well as safety protocols imposed to limit COVID-19 infections. LANDBANK also continues to waive fees for inter-bank fund transfers via InstaPay and PESONet for retail clients until September 30, 2021.

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LANDBANK, Isabela town partner to provide market support to palay farmers

Alicia Mayor Joel Amos P. Alejandro (center) inspects the municipal government’s purchase of palay directly from local farmers at premium prices, with support from a P65-million loan under LANDBANK’s Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan Lending Program, which helped stabilize the local prices of palay and provided a ready and steady market for farmers’ produce. ALICIA, Isabela – Situated in the “Queen Province of the North,” the Municipality of Alicia is surrounded with vast tracts of rich agricultural lands planted mostly to palay and corn. Having the largest irrigated rice fields in the region, Alicia is considered the largest rice producer in Cagayan Valley. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, affected market conditions for these farmers, as health and safety lockdowns limited the movement of buyers, traders, and produce. To address this growing concern, the municipal government decided to pursue high-impact projects to help boost the productivity of its more than 1,000 farmers and ensure local food security. This led the administration of Alicia Mayor Joel Amos P. Alejandro to partner with local farmers’ cooperatives and associations to directly purchase the palay produced by local farmers at premium prices. Through the assistance of Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), the Alicia LGU applied for a P65-million credit facility for a Permanent Working Capital (PWC) under the Bank’s Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan Lending Program. Through the Program, the Alicia LGU buys palay at an indicative subsidized price of P15.00 to P16.00 per kilogram for wet palay, and P19.00 per kilogram for dry palay. This helped stabilize the prices of palay in Alicia, while providing a steady market for farmers’ produce. The LGU, in turn, sells the procured palay processed into milled rice in public markets and other government institutions, such as government hospitals, jails, and other entities. The LGU also signed lease contracts with millers and warehouse owners to set up a streamlined rice milling arrangement in the area. Moreover, the Program supported the LGU’s initiatives to deliver rice subsidies to indigent residents of Alicia, particularly when the area was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to stem the spread of COVID-19 infections. “Ako ay nagpapasalamat sa LANDBANK dahil sa kanilang programa para sa aming local farmers. Malaking tulong ito para sa aming munisipyo. I am also proud to note that we are the first LGU that availed and implemented this Program, which has so far proven to be successful. We are counting on LANDBANK to support our plans in expanding this program so that we may be able to support more palay farmers in Alicia,” Mayor Alejandro said. Initially launched by LANDBANK and the Department of Agriculture (DA) in 2019 as the “PAlay aLAY sa Magsasaka ng Lalawigan,” the Program aims to provide a credit facility to Municipal, City, and Provincial LGUs to purchase palay produced by local farmers whose incomes have been affected by the drop in the farm gate price of palay. The Program has since been expanded in 2020 to cover the purchase of corn, in support of Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. “We are closely working with local government partners to meet the production requirements of farmers and help ensure food security especially during this ongoing pandemic. We are thus encouraging more LGUs, especially those in rice and corn producing communities, to avail of the LANDBANK Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan Program to support our local farmers,” said LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo. The P10-billion funded facility is LANDBANK’s response to the National Government’s call to support the livelihood of local farmers, who can sell their palay and corn to their LGUs at a fair price rather than to unscrupulous rice traders who offer very low prices. Additionally, LGUs may avail of farm machineries and equipment for post-harvest facilities to support their rice and corn-related activities. As of July 2021, LANDBANK has approved loans for the Program amounting to P3.85 billion for eight (8) LGUs. As of July 31, 2021, LANDBANK has extended a total of P21 billion in outstanding loans to support the agri-aqua projects of LGUs nationwide. Interested borrowers of the LANDBANK Palay at Mais ng Lalawigan Lending Program 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. For more updates, please follow the official LANDBANK Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts (@landbankofficial), and Twitter (@LBP_Official); join our Viber community (@LANDBANK); or visit the LANDBANK website (www.landbank.com).

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