Duterte wants Land Bank to serve farmers better

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2018 06:44 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Land Bank of the Philippines to serve the country’s farmers and fisherfolk better, Malacañang said Thursday, after the chief executive met with officials of the state-run bank.

Duterte on Wednesday met with LBP President and Chief Executive Officer Alex Buenaventura, Director Virgilio Robes, Executive Vice President Joselito Gutierrez, and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Chairperson Alberto Romulo in Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte reminded the bank officials of their role in improving the lot of the country’s farmers and fisherfolk, considered vital in the economy yet among the poorest.

“Ang gusto kasi niya, iyong Land Bank bumalik sa kanilang mandato na tulungan iyong mga maliliit na magsasaka, hindi naman kasi pupuwede na ang isang bangko na binuo ng gobyerno para tulungan ang magsasaka, hindi na malapitan ng magsasaka dahil napakadaming requirements na hindi pupuwedeng ma-comply ng maliliit na magsasaka,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(What the President wants is for Land Bank to go back to its mandate of helping the farmers. He said he cannot allow that a bank created by the government to help the farmers is not able to extend assistance because of the many requirements it imposes that farmers cannot comply with.)

“So importante na to remind the bank na kayo ay nandiyan to provide instant credit para sa mga magsasaka, iyong mga nais magtanim, iyong mga biktima ng delubyo.”

(It’s important to remind the bank that it exists to provide instant credit to farmers and victims of disasters.)

The LBP was created in 1963 through Republic Act 3844 or the Agricultural Land Reform Code. Its initial purpose was to finance the acquisition and distribution of agricultural estates for division and resale to small landholders as well as the purchase of the landholding by the agricultural lessee.

The Agricultural Credit Administration (ACA) was also established under the law. It was responsible for extending credit assistance to farmers' cooperatives and directly to small farmers.

The ACA was abolished in 1982 and its functions were transferred to the LBP.

Duterte’s meeting with LBP officials came just as Luzon farmers were reeling from the devastation brought by Typhoon “Ompong.”

The typhoon’s damage to agriculture has reached P17 billion, with the bulk sustained by the rice sector, according to the agriculture department.