Gibo urges public banks to increase agricultural loans

Senate candidate and former Secretary of Defense Gilbert ‘Gibo’ Teodoro. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

SENATE candidate and former defense chief Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro wants the two public lenders to increase their support for the agricultural sector.

In a statement on Saturday, Teodoro said he wanted to review the policies of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) as their primary duty is to help the country’s agriculture develop.

“Let’s review the policy of the Landbanks because they are there to really support agriculture. In the same way, the original charter of the DBP was not for profitability in banking terms but support for the economy for industries long-term growth,” Teodoro pointed out.

One of his pleas is to support the agricultural sector to achieve food sustainability in the country.

“Now these banks – both Landbank and DBP – have had their mandates and charter changed, so much so that they can compete with commercial banks,” Teodoro added.

Citing data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the former Tarlac lawmaker said loans disbursed to the agricultural sector and land reform by banks in 2021 amounted to 852 billion pesos, less than the minimum required for loans to the sector at 1,997 trillion pesos.

The combined allocation for agriculture and land reform, at 10.65 percent of total loanable funds of 7.99 trillion pesos, was significantly lower than the 25 percent specified by Republic Act 10000, or 2009 on the agro-agricultural reform credit”.

Farmers and beneficiaries of the agricultural reform must each obtain 15% and 10% respectively of the banks’ total loan portfolio.

However, the actual loan percentages allocated to target borrowers were only 9.71% and 0.94%, respectively.

The central bank has expressed hope that Congress will make amending the Agri-Agra law a top priority before forming a new administration to take over later this year.

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