Sto. Niño, Cagayan—In line with its commitment to strengthen its support to the agriculture and fisherfolk sector, the Land Bank of the Philippines kicked off its fourth Financial Inclusion Caravan in Cagayan on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Mayor Leandro Memorial Gymnasium here.
Dubbed ‘Ipon at Kabuhayan para sa ating Kababayan,’ the FI Caravan is a financial literacy campaign launched by the Bank in 2016 to promote greater financial inclusion, especially among unbanked and unserved communities.
“This year’s Financial Inclusion Caravan is more targeted because we made sure that at least 6o% of the participants in each site is farmers and fishers. This is in line with our continuing efforts to intensify our support to agriculture sector and to help our farmers and fishers improve their income and manage their finances,” LandBank President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo said.
“This will be a start of a stronger partnership in stimulating our message of charity and promote savings among our children. Foremost, we want Sto. Niño to grow,” Borromeo emphasized.
Cagayan Gov. Manuel N. Mamba lauded LandBank for having chosen Sto. Niño as pilot partner in its Agent Banking Program.
“This initiative complements the struggles not only in the municipality of Niño but also in support to the welfare of the populace in the province of Cagayan,” Mamba said.
The governor cited some of the many programs of the national government that were realized in partnership with LandBank.
Meanwhile, Mayor Vicente G. Pagurayan of Sto.Nino expressed gratitude to LANDBANK for the opportunity to be the first municipality in the region to avail of its programs.
“I am thankful for LANDBANK in promoting financial literacy in our municipality. This initiative supplements the efforts of the local government to improve the economic well-being of the people of Sto. Nino,” he said.
Also launched was the LANDBANK Agent Banking Program, with Sto Nino Credit and Development Cooperative as the pilot agent banking partner in Cagayan.
The Agent Banking Program aims to broaden the Bank’s reach by partnering with client cooperatives associations, SMEs and even individuals who can served the public’s basic financial transactions in areas without LANDBANK presence.
“We are looking at establishing agent banking partnership in eight remote areas this year and eventually expand the coverage to reach more clients. This will help ease the burden of our fellow Filipinos who have to travel to neighboring towns or even across island to withdraw, deposit or perform other banking transactions by bringing basic banking services closer to them,” Borromeo stressed.
A ceremonial award to 77 farmers who were able to avail a loan of P6.3 million was undertaken to more than 500 participants including farmers, fishers, market vendors and beneficiaries of the government’s Conditional Cash Transfer Program gathered in this cavalcade.
Apart from modules on basic financial products and services, the half-day forum also featured livelihood and business opportunities.
The Bank also presented some of its direct lending programs for farmers such as the Accesible Funds For Delivery to Agrarian Reforms Beneficiaries (AFFORD-ARB’s) the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF) and the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).
Since 2016, LANDBANK has reached 25 third- to sixth class municipalities nationwide and has helped bring over 10,000 underserved Filipinos under the umbrella of formal financial services.
Other areas included in this year’s series of FI Caravans are Rizal, Palawan; Libacao, Aklan; Aloguinsan, Cebu; Mayamboc, Tarlac; Las Nieves, Agusan Del Norte; Claveria, Misamis Oriental; and Polilo Island, Quezon.
Also present in the event were Department of Agriculture Region 2 Regional Executive Director Narciso Edillo, Department of Agrarian Reform Region 2 Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Engr. Arthur Faeldon, and other regional government officials.