"WE HELP YOU GROW’: Assistant Vice President (AVP) Edgardo Luzano, Department Manager Virgilio Cabacang, and Ms. Jennielyn Zabala, together with the hosts of Balik-Loob sa Pagbabago, discussed the benefits under the Balik-Loob Lending Program.
Representatives from the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) led by Assistant Vice President (AVP) Edgardo Luzano, Head of the Programs Management Department of the Landbank; together with Department Manager Virgilio Cabacang, Head of the Landbank Lending Center in Samar, and Ms. Jennielyn Zabala, Program Officer of Landbank Lending Center of Pampanga encouraged former rebels (FRs) and former violent extremists (FVEs) to avail of the Balik-Loob Lending Program to help them start a business or a livelihood project on Balik-Loob sa Pagbabago, the afternoon radio program of Task Force Balik-Loob, on July 13.
The Balik-Loob Lending Program is a loan facility provided by Landbank as one of the benefits offered under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.
Under the Program, FRs and FVEs can apply for loan assistance to fund agricultural-based projects like livestock, fishery, poultry, farming, etc. and non-agricultural based projects such as sari-sari stores, barber shops, tailor shops, RTW or ready-to-wear clothing and more.
According to AVP Luzano, individual borrowers with Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC) certification, cooperative, and association with viable projects and without pending criminal cases are welcome to apply for the lending program.
“Puwede po silang umutang bilang individual borrowers, ang kanilang kooperatiba o asosasyon. Pag indibidwal po ang hihiram, maaari po siyang makahiram ng halagang Php 25,000 hanggang Php 100,000 or equivalent to 90% of the total project cost depende sa kanilang negosyo. At binibigyan po lamang natin sila ng mababang interes na 5% kada taon.”
The Landbank team shared that former rebels undergo financial literacy training and other seminars before they receive the loan assistance. The financial literacy training is a pre-release requirement wherein they learn how to manage finances, repay loans, grow their savings, and even bookkeeping. It is to make sure that the beneficiaries will be responsible in utilizing the credit provided.
AVP Luzano shared that there are more than 10 beneficiaries under the Balik-Loob Lending Program who have already started their own businesses. In Samar, most of the businesses that their beneficiaries have are agricultural-based like hog farming, fish pond, and poultry farming, whereas in Pampanga, beneficiaries have already started root crops and fruit vending, RTW clothing, automobile repair services, and more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions during the validation process and security concerns have been the major challenges for the lending centers in provinces. However, personnel from different Landbank lending centers go out of their way to make sure the beneficiaries will get the assistance they need even if they are located in far-flung areas.
Ms. Zabala shared that their team even hiked a mountain just to inspect the livelihood project of one of their beneficiaries. “In a way, para makita rin ng mga katropa natin na, sincere ang gobyerno sa pagtulong na kahit nasaan sila, handa nating iabot (ang tulong), para makita nila na, we are willing to go the extra mile to help them grow kasi ang pinakamagandang mag market ng lending program, ay ang mga borrowers mismo.” Ms. Zabala said.
Mr. Cabacang also appealed to the public to accept former rebels in their community and support their business endeavors to finally start their lives anew. “Kung may negosyo sila (former rebels), we can also patronize with their business para mabigyan sila ng opportunity na lumago ang negosyo nila—iyong acceptance from the public, from the community.”
Lastly, AVP Luzano emphasized that attaining peace is a shared responsibility and that we must do our part to be law-abiding citizens.
“Nais po natin ang kapayapaan at kaunlaran. Ang pagiging law-abiding citizen ay isa sa mga pinakamagandang ambag natin bilang isang Pilipino upang makamit po natin ang hinahangad natin na katahimikan at pagkakaisa sa bansa, and we encourage you to join us in our quest for peace and our country’s development.” Luzano said.