Department of Agriculture Secretary (DA) Emmanuel F. Piñol and Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) Executive Director Jocelyn Alma R. Badiola led the distribution of financial assistance to around 1,000 conflict-affected small farmers and fishers on November 27, 2018 in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The provision of financial support is under the ACPC’s Survival and Recovery Assistance as part of Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program. Said calamity funds aim to help farmers and fisherfolk, affected by the Marawi siege, to rehabilitate their agri-fishery livelihood.
“Pinapatunayan ng gobyerno na ‘pag sinabi naming tutulong kami, tutulong kami,” said Secretary Pinol during his keynote address.
The delivery of P5,000 to each beneficiary was thru ATM cards aptly named “Kababayaan E-Card” (Love E-Card) issued by the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) which serves as cashiering bank for the program.
“Ang ATM cards na ito ay simbolo ng nag-uumpisa nating pagmamahalan,” said Secretary Piñol. He added that through the said E-Cards, downloading of financial assistance from ACPC will be much faster and more convenient.
Prior to the provision of the cash assistance, the beneficiaries were given orientations and financial literacy training (e.g. preparation of farm plan and budget) to teach them how to best handle their financial resources.
“Gusto ko pong pasalamatan ang UCPB dahil sila ang tumugon sa ating panawagan upang mapadali ang pagbibigay ng tulong pinansiyal sa pamamagitan ng E-Money Cards,” said ED Badiola during her opening remarks. She also recognized ACPC’s Team Marawi led by Director Cristina Lopez, who organized the event as well as facilitated a series of orientations, briefings and financial literacy training for Marawi small farmers and fishers.
Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit Evelyn Laviña commended the resilient attitude of Marawi farmer and fisherfolk during her closing message. “Sa kabila ng napakatinding pagsubok na inyong pinagdaanan ay narito pa rin kayo at patuloy na lumalaban,” said Usec. Laviña. “Kayo ay nagsisilbing inspirasyon sa lahat ng mga Pilipino kaya saludo kaming lahat sa inyo.”
Also in attendance during the momentous activity were Lanao del Sur Board Member Amer Bitor, UCPB Region Head Joel Victor Javier, Lanao del Sur Provincial Agriculturist Abdusalam Batao, among others.