The Land Bank of the Philippines held the third leg of its Financial Inclusion (FI) Forum in Libacao, Aklan, on September 21, 2019, and recognized the first loan availers of the municipality. Libacao was the first site in the province where the financial literacy forum was held, gathering around 700 participants, composed mostly of farmers.
Libacao is known as one of the top abaca-producing areas in the country, and farming is a main source of livelihood for its residents.
During the forum, the first loan availers from Libacao were recognized by LandBank, and among them was abaca farmer Agnes Billones. Agnes is an availer of the Accessible Funds for Delivery to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries or AFFORD – ARBs, a lending program of LandBank in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Reform catering specifically to ARBs.
“Ang Financial Inclusion Forum ng LandBank ay isang napakalaking tulong sa amin dahil napakalayo po namin sa bayan. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa LandBank sa kanilang tulong at pagtitiwala sa aming mga magsasaka, ” said Agnes.
In her message, LandBank President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo expressed the bank’s support to the local farmers of abaca in Libacao.
“Abaca is a high-value crop. However, some traders may not be able to give our abaca farmers the best price for their produce. LandBank will do its responsibility in finding a direct buyer either in Manila or Laguna, and link them to the abaca farmers here in Libacao,” said Borromeo.
Aside from financial literacy, LandBank also presented some of its direct lending programs for farmers such as the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (Erca-RCEF) and the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (Acef), with a simpler, faster and more convenient loan processing.
“Libacao is the sleeping giant of the province of Aklan […] We are trying to position Libacao as the food basket not only of Aklan, but maybe part of the island of Panay as well,” said Aklan Governor Joeben Miraflores.
Dubbed “Ipon at Kabuhayan Para sa ating Kababayan”, the FI Forum is a financial literacy campaign launched by the Bank in 2016, in line with its thrust to promote greater financial inclusion, especially among unbanked and unserved communities. The first two legs of the FI Forum this year were held in Sto. Niño, Cagayan and Rizal, Palawan, with over 700 participants for each leg.
Other areas included in this year’s series of FI Forums are: Aloguinsan, Cebu; Mayantoc, Tarlac; Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; Claveria, Misamis Oriental, and Polillo Islands, Quezon