Landbank offers P150,000 loan for private school students under i-STUDY program

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2020   •   457

MANILA, Philippines – State-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) is offering loans up to P150,000 per student to families in need of financial assistance to continue sending their children to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Landbank’s education program, dubbed as the Interim Students’ Loan for Tuition toward Upliftment of Education for the Development of the Youth (i-STUDY), will allow parents, guardians, or benefactors of students in private schools to borrow an amount equivalent to one school year or two semesters, the DOF said, citing a report by Landbank president and CEO Cecilia Borromeo to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

“This program will not only help families who have kids they want to send to school, but will also assist private schools and downstream industries to sustain and continue their operations,” Borromeo said in a statement.

Loans under the i-STUDY program carries an affordable fixed interest rate of five percent per year.

Short-term loans payable within one year are available for pre-school, primary and secondary school students under the program, while term loans payable up to a maximum of three years, inclusive of a one-year grace period on the principal amount are available for tertiary level students.

Loans under the program cannot exceed P300,000 per eligible borrower, Borromeo said.

Landbank’s i-STUDY program was introduced “in response to President Duterte’s call to support students during this time of crisis,” according to Borromeo.

It also launched in May this year a lending program targeting private schools hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

An initial batch of over 60 private educational institutions have expressed interest in tapping the bank’s Access to Academic Development to Empower the Masses towards Endless Opportunities (ACADEME) lending program.

The program aims to extend credit to private high schools, private technical-vocational education training institutions, colleges and universities with the goal of encouraging students to enroll under a “study now, pay later” setup by allowing their parents to issue promissory notes for their academic fees.

These promissory notes will then be refinanced or rediscounted under the program, with schools allowed to borrow as much as 70 percent of the sub-promissory note per semester and subject.

However, schools can only borrow up to a certain maximum amount based on the net borrowing capacity of the institution.

Loans under the program carry an interest rate of three percent per annum and are payable based on the maturity of the sub-promissory notes but not to exceed three years.

The program is available until June 30, 2021.

DA launches interest-free loan program for rice farmers

Marje Pelayo   •   September 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) officially launched the agency’s expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance for Rice Farmers (SURE AID Program) on Monday (September 2).

The program, organized by the DA-Agricultural and Credit Policy Council and Land Bank of the Philippines, provides rice farmers loan opportunities through a simplified application process.

“Dito ay simplified na ang (we have simplified the) loan application,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar during the launching of the program in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija.

“Basta rehistrado, andyan lahat ng magrerecommend at may approval na, in three hours release [na ang loan] (As long as [the farmer] is registered, all recommendations are in place and approval has been secured, the loaned cash will be released in three hours time),” he added.

The loan program is the DA’s way of helping rice farmers who are suffering from the flooding of rice imports as a result of the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law which forced the plunging of palay’s selling price to P7/kg from the previous P21/kg.

Dar said the loan program covers farmers tilling farmland one hectare and below.

Qualified applicants may avail of P15,000 cash assistance payable in eight years with no interest and no collateral needed.

Secretary Dar assured that while the SURE Aid provides only a short-term solution, the DA is confident that the farm gate price will return to its reasonable amount during normal harvest time.

“Before the main harvest comes, in place na lahat ang measures, at doon na sa respectable prices na (all measures are in place, it will be back to respectable prices),” Dar said.

“In Nueva Ecija, Isabela and the rest, we’ll buy wet palay at P15/kg, hindi na (and no longer) P10/kh or P12/kg. So may ganansya na iyan sa magsasaka (They already have profit with that amount). Ang cost of producing one kilo of palay dito sa bansa ay P12 (The production cost of one kilogram of palay in the country is P12). Mayroon na silang P3/kg (They earn P3/kg). Kung ma-dry pa nila iyan, pupunta sa P17/kg (If they are able to dry their yield, they can earn higher up to P17/kg),” Secretary Dar concluded.

Landbank vows to submit plans for farmers after Duterte threat

Marje Pelayo   •   July 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) has promised to submit its plans and programs for the agriculture sector following a threat from President Rodrigo Duterte that he would have it abolished for failure to serve its purpose.

Landbank is the main depository and servicing bank of the government with a special focus on serving the needs of farmers and fishermen in the countryside.

During his fourth state of the nation address (SONA) on Monday (July 22), the President lambasted the Landbank for being “mired in so many commercial transactions” while doing little to help out farmers and coconut growers.

The President said, “You know, you are called Landbank but you are now the number one commercial bank in the Philippines. What the heck is happening to you? You are supposed to finance agricultural enterprises and endeavors. Bakit wala (Why none)?”

“Go to the countryside and ask the people if there are cooperatives, tulungan ninyo to form one,” he added.

The President has given the Landbank until end of July to submit a viable plan for agricultural institutions and the local farmers otherwise he will ask Congress to act.

“I’m asking now Congress, if there is no viable plan for that for the farmers and it is just all commercial transactions, might as well abolish it (Landbank),” he warned.

In response, Landbank in a statement on Tuesday (July 23) vowed to comply with the President’s instructions and promised to further enhance its service channels to reach its primary clients – “the small farmers and fishers, and the agricultural sector at large.”

“We shall also be strengthening partnerships with cooperatives farmer groups and associations as well as collaboration with other key agencies and government units,” the Landbank said in the statement.

“As a matter of fact, together with the office of the provincial governor of Cotabato, we have a scheduled roadshow with initially 400 farmers, including those who never had financial access. This will just be the first of many,” it added.

Jeepney drivers object to high installment rate of PUJ modernization loan program

admin   •   May 4, 2017

MANILA — Several jeepney drivers and operators complain of the high daily installment rate required of each driver or operator who want to apply in a loan program to be launched by the LTFRB and Land Bank of the Philippines.

The group Pasang Masda said they are for the government’s jeepney modernization program. However, Pasang Masda stressed they cannot afford the P800 daily installment by LTFRB and the bank.

“Palagay ko masyadong mataas yung 800 a day, wala nang matitira sa operator nun, siguro. Bakit di natin i-fix yung 400, that means 12,000 a month,” Pasang Masda president Obet Martin said. (I think 800 pesos a day is too much. Nothing will be left for the operator. Why not make it 400 pesos? That means 12,000 pesos a month.)

Isidro Carpio, also a jeepney driver said, “Mahina na ako mamasada, di ko kakayanin araw araw yung 500 nga hirap.” (I do not operate my jeepney that much anymore. I cannot pay daily. Even P500 is too much for me.)

Based on the agreement between the government and Landbank, all drivers and operators who wish to acquire a new jeepney unit may apply for a loan from 1.4 million to 1.6 million pesos.

The said amount must be paid completely within seven years, with a 6% interest rate.

The payment system is similar to the “boundary-hulog” scheme, wherein drivers are obliged to remit a certain amount as payment for the use of a jeepney unit.

Under the loan program, daily payment of P800 is made through Landbank’s cash deposit machine outlets.

“Yung Landbank ay mag-tatalaga, mag-oopen ng credit facility for affected PUJ operators for them to be able to get new units kung wala man silang sapat na kakayahang pinansyal,” LTFRB chairman Atty. martin Delgra III said.  (Landbank will designate, will open a credit facility for affected PUJ operators for them to be able to get new units if they do not have financial capacity.)

“Some drivers and the group Pasang Masda is in favor of the financing program. The latter appeals to lower the 800 peso daily payment,” Martin added.

As of now, LTFRB still cannot identify as to when this program will roll-out, because they still waiting for the finalization of the local public transport route plan that will be submitted by all of the local government units nationwide. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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