LandBank opens lending window to former rebels.
THE LandBank of the Philippines (LandBank) and the Department of National Defense (DND) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) their officials expect will enhance the financial capability of former rebels and their families through the provision of loans from the government bank.
The agreement was signed by Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo B. Mapagu, chairman of the Task Force Balik Loob (TFBL), and LBP President and CEO Alex V. Buenaventura.
Under the MOA, the LBP will lend up to P100,000 to former members of the News People's Army (NPA) in order to fund their livelihood projects, such as small and microenterprises, agriculture and other means of livelihood.
Former rebels who are aged 21 and up and who have no pending cases are qualified to avail themselves of the loan program.
'Those disqualified due to age or have pending cases can designate a family member who will be listed as the borrower in their stead. Former rebels can submit their loan applications to LBP lending units across the country, including proof of identification and certification from the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee [Japic],' Mapagu said.
Aside from processing, evaluating and approving the loan applications of former rebels, the LBP will also conduct loan counselling and financial literacy seminars to the former rebels prior to release of their loans.
'The LandBank's slogan: 'We help you grow,' now also encompasses former rebels who wish to increase their capacity in their chosen livelihood, empowering not only himself and his family, but also his community,' Mapagu said.
'With this signing of agreement, the Land Bank of the Philippines is a welcome addition to our list of partner agencies, which will definitely have an important role in our peace and reintegration efforts for our former rebels,' he added.
On the other hand, Buenaventura expressed full support for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-Clip), saying that it is his personal desire to uplift the lives of former rebels and ensure they don't end up living lives of poverty.
'We are happy to provide financing for some 5,000 former rebels. Ang source ng lahat ng problema natin sa [all problems with the] NPA ay kahirapan [is poverty]. I want to deal with the E-Clip from that angle, to address the poverty of these people,' he said. 'I will think of our former rebels and think of how our agribusiness companies can help employ them.'
E-Clip is the government's program for surrendering rebels and it is being administered by the DND through Mapagu, who is the program's head.
Unlike the rebel reintegration programs of previous administrations, the E-Clip provides a wider array of benefits based on the particular needs of FRs and their families such as financial assistance, housing, education, skills training, health care and legal assistance, among others.