Leyte Samar Daily Express
TACLOBAN CITY – The Land Bank of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas is now preparing to extend financial assistance to the region’s over 124,000 indigent families to help them graduate from receiving cash grants from the national government.
Land Bank regional head Alex A. Lorayes said that their Development Assistance Center is now coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the identification of more stable groups where the loan will be channeled.
Lorayes said that they will take the risk in allowing the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to access the loan.
“If we will not take the risk, we will not be able to reach hard-to-reach areas. They have no access to credits. The only way to assist them is to tap those groups previously assisted by the DSWD who are now more stable. They will serve as conduits,” Lorayes said in an interview.
These groups previously assisted by DSWD are located in 4Ps areas. They are qualified as conduit since they already have their own set of officers and have been operating with internal control. The loan for poor families has no collateral.
In the implementation of 4Ps, Land Bank is tasked to disburse cash grants every quarter based on order of payments prepared by the DSWD.
The 4Ps, which was launched March 2007, provides conditional cash grants to extremely poor households to improve their health, nutrition, and education, particularly of children aged 0-14 years old.
The pro-poor program has expanded this year from Northern Samar and Samar to all provinces in Eastern Visayas with over 124,000 family-beneficiaries receiving financial assistance in the next five years.
“For the 4Ps to be unique in Region 8, we have been studying the livelihood component. Through this loan, we can teach them how to start a business,” the official said. “With the grant and financial assistance to improve their livelihood, they can now stand by their own.”
Financing will focus on funding agricultural productivity considering that beneficiaries are located in farming communities of the region.
The Land Bank’s Development Assistance Center is set to conduct trainings to enhance business management skills of loan beneficiaries. Market linkage is also a component of the program to ensure repayment and sustainability of livelihood.
Land Bank has a loan exposure of around P4 billion to cover financing of all sectors in Eastern Visayas with concentration in agriculture sector. The minimum amount for loan this year is the highest in record since it shifted its thrust and transformed its loan portfolio in favor of the priority sectors.
The state-owned bank is targeting to release P400 million loan for small farmers and fisherfolks, P170 million for farmers, and P170 million for farmer cooperatives.
Economic activities regularly financed by the Land Bank include crop production, livestock, fishery activities, agricultural services, marketing loans, and agro-processing.
Lorayes added that their borrowing coverage on the agriculture sector has expanded to finance more activities such as infrastructure in farming communities, planting of non-rice crops, high value commercial crops production and crop insurance.
He said that financing can be accessed through Land Bank branches in Tacloban City; Catarman, Northern Samar; Calbayog City; Catbalogan, Samar; Borongan, Eastern Samar; Naval, Biliran; Baybay, Leyte; Maasin City; and Sogod, Southern Leyte.
In areas without Land Bank branches, loans are available through accredited conduits like Rural Banks, accredited farmer’s organization and cooperatives in cities and municipalities regionwide. (Sarwell Q. Meniano)