Land Bank set to lend P2B to priority sectors

LEGAZPI CITY--The Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) has earmarked P2-billion loan facility under its Development Advocacy Program for Bikol this year.

Mauricio Feliciano, LBP vice president and general manager for Bikol, said the amount would finance projects of priority sectors such as small fishermen and farmers (SFFs) and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Most of our small farmers and fishermen are afraid of loans that is why, through this DAP, we are reaching out to them to make them realize the importance of financing for their economic advancement,” Feliciano said.

He said that the bank, as a government-owned financial institution, also assisted its clients in the marketing and technology transfer.

The bank had sufficient fund to carry out all its roles and functions, especially in countryside development considering its current deposit portfolio in the region of P8.383 billion, a P1.222-billion increase compared to 2007, or almost 50 percent rise from 2004’s P4.827 billion, he said.

The bank financed about P2.5 billion worth of development projects in Bikol last year, about P53 million more than the P2.376 billion recorded the previous year. Feliciano told reporters that the local government units (LGUs) secured 39 percent, or P956 million, of the total amount.

Feliciano declined to name the LGUs when asked to determine which among the six Bikol provinces were top borrowers of fund using internal revenue allotments as guarantee of payment. The bank was not authorized to do so, Feliciano said.

The small fishermen and farmers group, through cooperatives and other financial conduits such as rural banks, irrigators’ associations and other non-government organizations, availed of 26 percent, or P640 million.

Feliciano said the loans benefited a cumulative number of 219,225 farmers and marginal fishermen in the region. Government employees borrowed about seven percent, or P169 million.

The top five cooperative borrowers in the region were the St. Anthony Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Gubat, Sorsogon; Parish Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Baao, Camarines Sur; Basud Development Cooperative in Basud, Camarines Norte; Country line Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Daet, Camarines Norte; and the Sorsogon Integrated Development Cooperative in Sorsogon City. The loans for SMEs reached P540 million, or 22 percent last year.

The LGU sector registered 21 percent rise in borrowings last year while SFFs and SMEs posted significant decreases of P65.8 million and P102.3 million respectively. (PNA)