Landbank to continue agri lending activities
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Top officials gave their assurance yesterday that the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines will continue to focus its lending activities in the agriculture sector.

In a text message, Landbank president and chief executive officer Cecilia Borromeo said the bank would comply with the directive of President Duterte during his State of the Nation (SONA) on Monday, where he asked the government financial institution (GFI) to come up with a plan to help farmers and fishers.

“Landbank will comply with the instructions of President Duterte. We will continue to lend to the various players in the agriculture sector, with focus on small farmers and fishers,” Borromeo said.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, in a text message to reporters, also said he has been assured by Landbank officials that the government financial institution would continue to provide credit to farmers and fishermen.

However, Dominguez said Landbank still needs to extend commercial loans given the size of its resources.

“The size of the resources of the bank as the main depository of government accounts makes it necessary for them to deploy their funds to commercial and industrial projects, as well as agriculture projects,” Dominguez said.

The finance chief also said the bank would not drop its plan to purchase a 49-percent stake in the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDSHC).

Furthermore, Dominguez also said Landbank is working closely with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to speed up the distribution of land titles to beneficiaries.

“Landbank also performs critical functions, such as distributing funds to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and Pantawid Pasada beneficiaries,” he said.

During his 4th SONA speech on Monday, Duterte demanded for Landbank to concentrate its efforts in the countryside and to go back to its original mandate of helping farmers and fishermen.

He threatened that Landbank would be “reconfigured” or abolished if it does not follow this directive.

“I will give you until the end of July to give me a plan or else I will ask Congress to reconfigure you what-not,” Duterte said. “If there is no viable plan for that, for the farmers, and it’s just all commercial transactions, might as well abolish it and give the money to the congressmen for their development funds.”

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