Escudero questions Landbank, DBP capital allocation for Maharlika; says lend to agri instead


Posted at Feb 02 2023 12:58 PM | Updated as of Feb 02 2023 01:06 PM

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Senator Chiz Escudero on Thursday said the Landbank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines should consider lending to the Agriculture sector instead of funding the Maharlika Investment Fund. 

In an interview with ANC, Escudero said Congress has been asking the 2 banks to invest in the agriculture sector but it has been rejected.

"For the longest time, we’ve been trying to amend the chapter and Landbank and DBP to tell them ‘You should lend to agriculture and the agriculture sector because it represents 60 percent of our economy and the poorest of the poor are in that sector’,” Escudero said.

"The basic argument of the Bangko Sentral with us for the past 12 years that I’ve been in the Senate before has been ‘no we cannot allow that, we cannot allow these banks to put 70 percent of their loanable money in agriculture because it's like putting their eggs in one basket’...But so far as the Maharlika Investment Fund is concerned they’re willing to look the other way," he added.

The Senate version of the bill states that P50 billion of the seed funding will come from the Landbank and P25 billion from the DBP.

"If we’re doing that why not look at the other way, too in terms of lending to agriculture? Why not order LB and DBP to lend to the agri sector in order to modernize?" he said. 

The proposed sovereign wealth fund has been amended to remove "controversial" funding sources such as state-run pension funds. Another version proposed the use of dividends from government-owned and controlled corporations.

Some economists and lawmakers, meanwhile, have said that funds should come from surplus, which the Philippines does not have, citing budget deficit.