The DA-ACPC, in coordination with its partner lending conduits, the DA Regional Field Office of the Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-RFO CAR), and the Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs) of Mt. Province, has completed its disbursement of zero-interest, emergency loans to 1,200 marginalized farmers and fishers (MSFF) in the province under the Expanded SURE Aid and Recovery Project or SURE COVID-19.
The approved credit fund allocation of Php 30 million has been fully released to farmers in nine (9) municipalities in the province namely: Bauko, Besao, Barlig, Bontoc, Sabangan, Sagada, Tadian, Paracelis and Natonin, through the DA-ACPC’s partner lending conduits. These include Treasurelink Cooperative Society, Sagada Multipurpose Cooperative (Sagada MPC), and St. Williams Multipurpose Cooperative MPC (St. Williams MPC).
The SURE COVID-19 offers zero-interest, no-collateral loans of Php25,000 to MSFF severely affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The emergency loans were designed to cover the MSFF’s loss of income resulting from the ECQ, rehabilitate their agricultural and fishery production, and boost food security in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most beneficiaries from Mt. Province were highland vegetable, heirloom rice, rice, corn, and livestock farmers.
The SURE COVID-19 is currently being implemented nationwide, and for CAR, the DA-ACPC has tapped lending conduits covering the provinces of Benguet, Apayao, Kalinga, and Mt. Province, with lending conduits being finalized for Abra and Ifugao.
DA-ACPC Program Management Officer for CAR Krystle Balingan, reported that the funds for Mt. Province were fully disbursed to eligible borrowers despite the challenges faced in the validation and processing of applications while the province was under community quarantine. “We are grateful for our lending conduits, MLGUs, and DA-RFO CAR for being our steadfast partners in delivering credit efficiently and safely to MSFF during this pandemic,” she said.
Balingan, along with DA-ACPC focal person Lloyd Bayangan coordinated with partner lending conduits, MLGUs and DA-RFO CAR to facilitate loan release activities which included the orientation for applicants on the program guidelines, validation of eligible borrowers, and ceremonial turnover of loans. Loan releases were scheduled in batches in compliance with community quarantine protocol to ensure the safety of the beneficiaries.
Treasurelink Cooperative Society, headed by its CEO Shellan Addag, covered the municipalities of Bontoc, Barlig, and Bauko, serving a total of 365 MSFF-beneficiaries.
Bontoc, with 100 MSFF received the first batch of loans facilitated by Addag, together with Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey and DA-RFO CAR staff at Bontoc Municipal Hall.
Sixty-five (65) MSFF-beneficiaries from Barlig also received loans in the presence of Barlig Mayor Clark Ngaya, Municipal Agriculturist Ceferino Oryan, and DA Agricultural Production Coordinating Office (DA-APCO) representative Beverly Pekas.
In Bauko, 200 MSFF-beneficiaries received loans held at the Bauko Municipal Hall, with Mayor Abraham Akilit as the keynote guest. In his message, he reminded the farmer-beneficiaries to be responsible in the use and repayment of their loans to ensure the success of the program.
Paracelis Mayor Marcos Ayangwa, DA-APCO representative Pekas, and a representative from the Office of the Governor of Mt. Province were also present during the loan release for Paracelis MSFF, held in the municipality’s open gym. The activity was facilitated by St. Williams MPC, headed by Bishop Frenzel Ray Piluden. St. Williams MPC served a total of 200 MSFF-beneficiaries.