LANDBANK, DA sign agreement on P1.5-billion support for farmers

Monday, September 2, 2019

LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo (seated, 2nd from left) and Agriculture Acting Secretary William D. Dar (seated, 3rd from left) sign a MOA with LBP Lending Program Management Group Head/FVP Emellie Tamayo (seated, leftmost) and Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola (seated, rightmost), witnessed by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones (standing, 4th from left), with (standing, from left) Deputy Treasurer Atty. Erwin Sta. Ana, LBP Directors Jesus Hinlo Jr., Jaime Miralles, and Virgilio Robes Jr., Agriculture Undersecretary Atty. Francisco Villano Jr., and ACPC Deputy Executive Director Ramon Yedra (standing, rightmost).

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), signed on August 28, 2019 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that would provide financial assistance to small farmers affected by the implementation of Republic Act No. 11203 also known as the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).

Acting Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar and LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo led the signing of the agreement to implement the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program (SURE Aid) for Rice Farmers, which will provide an immediate one-time loan assistance of P15,000, payable in 8 years, to rice farmers who are tilling one hectare of land and below, and whose incomes were affected by the drop of prices of palay this year.

“We are trying to appraise the very predicament of the rice farmers affected by a complex set of issues, including the Rice Tariffication Law. But because of the falling prices of palay, we thought it necessary to look at every opportunity that is available for us. There are many more measures and this is one of them. We would like to get more ideas – measures that we need to implement right away,” said Secretary Dar, who is also Chairman of ACPC, an attached agency of DA.

Under the agreement, LANDBANK will implement the SURE Aid Program by releasing the loans either through direct lending to farmers or through service conduits. For its part, DA-ACPC will set aside P1.5 billion for the Program and provide the Bank with the validated list of farmers eligible for the loan assistance, as well as the list of DA-identified service conduits.

“We are very excited to be part of this very important Program that will cushion the initial impact of the lowering of the farm gate prices of palay because of the new rice tariffication regime. Please be assured that LANDBANK is fully on-board to work with you in making greater things happen for our farmers and fishers,” said President Borromeo.

She also thanked Secretary Dar for his “very swift and solid move,” which she said was a clear sign of many great things to come in the agriculture sector.

The MOA signing was witnessed by members of the LANDBANK Board of Directors led by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Atty. Jesus Hinlo Jr., Jaime Miralles, and Virgilio Robes Jr. They were joined by Agriculture Undersecretary Atty. Francisco Villano Jr., ACPC Executive Director Jocelyn Alma Badiola, ACPC Deputy Executive Director Ramon Yedra, Deputy Treasurer Atty. Erwin Sta. Ana, and LANDBANK Lending Program Management Group Head/FVP Emellie Tamayo.