From left to right: Tarlac 1st District Board Member Joy Gilbert Lamorena, DA-ACPC Director Ma. Cristina Lopez, DA-RFO III Reg. Tech. Director Nelson Bautista, Tarlac Vice Gov. Carlito David, Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap; and LBP President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo (3rd from right) with SURE Aid farmer-beneficiaries from Tarlac province.

After its launch in Nueva Ecija on September 2, 2019, the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance Program for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) is now being rolled-out in different provinces across the country. Last September 18, 2019, more than 1,200 rice farmer-beneficiaries from the province of Tarlac received their SURE Aid loans to help cushion the impact of low palay prices.

The SURE Aid program provides rice farmers who are tilling one hectare of land and below with a one-time, zero-interest, no collateral loan amounting to Php 15,000 payable up to eight years.

The Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), in coordination with the DA Regional Field Offices (DA-RFOs) and the local government units (LGUs), are currently fast-tracking the implementation of the program to provide loans to a targeted 170,000 rice farmers nationwide by the end of October 2019.

In her opening message, Tarlac Governor Susan Yap thanked DA Acting Secretary William Dar, DA RFO III, the LANDBANK and DA-ACPC for establishing the SURE Aid Program for Rice Farmers, which will benefit a total of more than 5,700 rice farmers in the province.

“Ang SURE Aid Program ay nagpapatunay na hindi pinapabayaan ng gobyerno ang mga magsasaka. Mabilis ang naging aksiyon ng DA, DA RFO III, DA-ACPC at LANDBANK upang matugunan ang pangangailangan ng mga magsasaka,” she said.

For her part, Provincial Agriculturist Alicia Cruz said, “Malaki ang impact ng programang ito sa ating mga magsasaka. Natutuwa sila na may dumating na tulong galing sa gobyerno upang sila ay makapagtanim muli.”

Rice farmers from Tarlac receive their SURE Aid LANDBANK Cash Cards containing Php 15,000 for their zero-interest, collateral-free loan.

Eligible rice farmers from Tarlac received their SURE Aid LANDBANK Cash Cards during the launching held in the Tarlac State University Gymnasium. This was facilitated by the local government unit (LGU) of Tarlac in cooperation with the LANDBANK, DA RFO III, and DA-ACPC.

LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo thanked the DA, DA RFO III, DA-ACPC, and Tarlac LGU for their cooperation in implementing the program. “Ang SURE Aid for rice farmers ay ginawa upang matulungan ang magsasaka na naapektuhan sa murang presyo ng palay, sa pamamagitan ng pautang na walang interes, walang kolateral at maaring bayaran sa loob ng walong taon.”

She explained that the SURE Aid Cash Cards contain the full loan amount of Php 15,000, which could be withdrawn from the readily available Mobile ATM in the venue, or from the 30 LANDBANK branches and ATMs within Tarlac.

“Patuloy na makikipag-ugnayan ang LANDBANK sa DA at sa mga LGUs upang matulungan ang mga magsasaka,” she added.

LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo explained the mechanics of the SURE Aid Loan Program to Tarlac farmers and announced the upcoming Palay Alay sa Magsasaka ng Lalawigan program of the LANDBANK in partnership with the DA and LGUs.

Rice farmer-beneficiary Alfredo Melchor from San Clemente, Tarlac addressed his fellow farmers during the event in his response during the launching.  “Marami po sa aming mga magsasaka ang lumalapit sa mga nagpapautang na may mataas na interes, ngunit dahil sa programang ito, makakahiram kami ng walang kolateral, walang interes, ang magaan ang pagbabayad.”

Rice farmer Alfredo Melchor expressed his gratitude to the DA, DA-ACPC, LANDBANK, and Municipal and Provincial Agriculturists for helping farmers like him through financial assistance programs like the SURE Aid for Rice Farmers.

Silvino Oligado, a 99-year-old rice farmer from Ramos, Tarlac, was also one of the SURE Aid farmer-beneficiaries present during the launching. Having been a farmer for most of his life, he said that he is grateful for the financial assistance extended by the government to farmers like him.

The SURE Aid Program was approved by the DA-ACPC Governing Council to provide financial assistance to rice farmers whose incomes were adversely affected by the low prices of palay in their respective regions. It is currently being implemented by the LANDBANK, which will disburse the Php 2.5 billion fund from the DA-ACPC either through direct lending to farmers or through service conduits in unbanked and unserved areas.

DA-ACPC Director Ma. Cristina Lopez, Team Leader for the SURE Aid Program, assists farmer-beneficiaries in availing themselves of the SURE Aid LANDBANK Cash Cards. The DA-ACPC, in coordination with the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist of Tarlac and DA RFO III, validated the list of rice farmers in the province eligible for the loan assistance.