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

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2020   •   1192

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.

P60-B released to cash transfer beneficiaries as of December 2020 — Landbank

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has already released P60.36 billion in unconditional cash transfers (UTC) as of December 2020 to beneficiary households of the Duterte administration’s social mitigation program under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

According to LANDBANK president-CEO Cecilia Borromeo, these disbursements were from the funds for the UCT program released from March 2018 up to December last year.

She said that from March 2018 to December 2020, a total of P22.53 billion was disbursed to beneficiaries from the UCT Program Funds under the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Another P23.71 billion under the fiscal year 2019 UCT Program Funds was released from July 2019 to December 2020, and P14.12 billion from the 2020 UCT Program Fund in December last year.

Under the TRAIN Law, up to 30 percent of the incremental revenues from the law is earmarked for social mitigation measures, such as the UCTs, while 70 percent is earmarked for the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

Republic Act (RA) No. 10963 or the TRAIN Law, which also slashed personal income tax (PIT) rates for 99 percent of salary earners, was implemented starting January 2018.

RA 10963 benefits salary earners because the hefty cuts in their PIT tax payments translate into extra income for these taxpayers equivalent to about a one-month take-home pay.

This law also adjusted the excise taxes on fuel, which prompted the inclusion of the social mitigation program to ease the initial impact of the adjustments on the poorest 50 percent of the population.

The UCT fund transferred to LANDBANK totaled P24.488 billion under the 2018 GAA.

Another P30.488 billion and P23.298 billion were transferred to LANDBANK for the UCT program under the 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAAs), respectively.

For 2018, the law provided a UCT of P2,400 each for some 10 million targeted households.

For the succeeding years of 2019 and 2020, each beneficiary household received P3,600.

The UCT fund for 2018 of P24.488 billion covered the P24 billion in cash grants for 10 million beneficiaries.

While P22.53 billion in UCT funds were disbursed, LANDBANK said that around P1.47 billion has yet to be distributed because it is still waiting for the submission by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) of the remaining payroll files of beneficiaries under the UCT program.

Under the 2019 national budget, the UCT fund amounted to P36.488 billion, of which P6 billion have yet to be downloaded by the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to LANDBANK, leaving it with P30.488 billion for the implementation of the program.

Of the P30.488 billion, P23.71 billion was released to UCT beneficiaries.

About P6.29 billion in funds have yet to be disbursed, pending the DSWD submission of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.

A total of P5.5 billion of this UCT fund was transferred to the BTr on April 1, 2020, to help fund the government’s COVID-19 response programs, and was returned to the fund on December 29, 2020.

For 2020, the total UCT fund under the GAA was P36.488 billion, of which P13.19 billion have yet to be downloaded to LANDBANK.

LANDBANK said the downloaded sum of P23.3 billion covered the P14.12 billion disbursed so far to UCT beneficiaries in December last year, while P8.9 billion have yet to be released pending the submission by the DSWD of the beneficiaries’ payroll files.

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.

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