LAND BANK of the Philippines remained aggressive in supporting the country’s cooperatives, as its outstanding loans to the sector reached P37 billion as of September 2017, higher by 16 percent compared to the P31.9 billion lent in the same period last year.
From January to September 2017, the bank released P20 billion in loans to Small Farmers and Fishers cooperatives—a 13-percent hike from the year-ago level of P17.7 billion.
“Cooperatives have been reliable partners of LandBank in promoting rural economic growth. They create jobs, enable microenterprises, and help build stronger communities. This is why we remain committed to supporting the sector not only in terms of financial assistance but also through technical support,” said LandBank president and CEO Alex V. Buenaventura.
One training intervention that Landbank offers to coops is the Innovative Training and Responsive Approaches for Institutional Nurturing (iTRAIN). It’s a capability program designed to develop and enhance the skills and competencies of the Bank’s cooperative clients to help them efficiently handle their respective businesses and operations.
To inspire excellence in operations and promote best practices, the bank also recognizes outstanding Landbank-assisted agri- and non-agri-based cooperatives through the Gawad sa Pinakatanging Kooperatiba or Gawad Pitak.
Now on its 27th year, the Gawad Pitak is regarded as the country’s most prestigious award for cooperatives and has become the seal of excellence for this sector.
For the first time this year, the Senate of the Philippines honored the Gawad Pitak winners through the filing of four resolutions by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, who chairs both the Senate Committee on Cooperatives and the Gawad Pitak’s Board of Judges.
The success stories of this year’s winners were also showcased in a one-week exhibit at the Senate last August.
In celebration of the Cooperative Month, a similar exhibit was also put up at the House of Representatives from October 23 to 26 as spearheaded by AGAP Party-list Rep. Rico Geron. Cong. Geron heads the House Committee on Cooperatives Development and also sits as Vice Chair of the Gawad Pitak Board of Judges.
Also part of this year’s Gawad Pitak Board of Judges were Landbank President Buenaventura, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, former agrarian reform secretary Rafael Mariano, and Cooperative Development Authority Chairman Orlando Ravanera.