OCAMPO, CAMARINES SUR – Barely a month after typhoon Usman left a vast area of the province submerged in floods, the DA through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC)  started releasing loans under the Survival and Recovery (SURE)  Program to farmers of the Municipality of Sagnay in Camarines Sur province.

The  Camalig Rural Bank (CRB), Ocampo branch, the conduit bank closely collaborated with the Municipal Agriculture Office of Sagnay and the staff of the DA –ACPC which implements SURE with the help of the DA Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD).

On February 8, 2019, the CRB released the P25,000 SURE loan proceeds to the initial thirteen beneficiaries from Sagnay. 

One beneficiary was  Emily B. Almonte, 68 years old farmer from Turague, Sagnay, Camarines Sur. Her one hectare rice farm in its flowering stage was devastated ty typhoon Usman last December.

Thus, she was included in the list of typhoon affected farmers submitted by Sagnay Municipal Agriculturist Myrna S. Sinaon to the DA AMAD, which endorsed the list to the ACPC.

“May surat samo ang munisipyo na mag-atend ng orientation manungod sa SURE. Naugma ako kan mahiling ko an ngaran ko sa listahan. Nag-atendir man ako asin duman na kami nag fill up kan application form para makasali sa RSBSA tanganing maka-utang ngani sa SURE. Asin dae nahaloy, maray ta marelease na,” said Nanay Emily. (The LGU invited us for an orientation on SURE. I was happy to see my name in the list. I attended the orientation and then and there, filled up the forms for RSBA and for the loan. I did wait for long, as the bank will now release our check.)

Nauugma ako ta may pambakal na ako ki abono asin iba pang kaipuhan sa sakong paroyan. Sana dakul pa ang matabangan kan programang ini kan DA, she added. (I am very happy because I now have money to spend on fertilizer and other needs in my farm. I hope the program could be extended to more farmers)

Nanay Emily was just one among the first batch who got their checks on that  day.

Djohanna T. Alcaide, the branch manager of the Camalig Rural Bank in Ocampo said that another batches of farmers will receive their loan proceeds in the succeeding weeks.

“This SURE loaning program is a very good addition to our existing loan windows on rice, sugarcane, vegetable production and hog raising. Napakaganda dahil nandyan na, available na ang pondo galing sa DA, kailangan na lang buhusan ng sipag at tyaga para mabilis na maiparating sa tao at maiwasan nilang makipagsapalaran sa 5-6 na napaka-taas ng porsyento. Dahil karamihan or almost 60% of our clients here in Ocampo are farmers, most of whom are engaged in rice and sugarcane production. Hindi totoong, ayaw ng mga magsasaka na magpunta sa bangko dahil karamihan pa nga sa mga clients namin ay galing pa sa bundok,” Alcaide argues.

Francis Y. Egar, Credit Department Head of the Camalig Bank said that all their four (4) branches in Albay located in Legazpi City, Tabaco City, Daraga and the main branch in Camalig – were already approved by the ACPC as conduits. Likewise, another four (4) Camalig Bank branches in Camarines Sur and Cam. Norte (Camalig Bank in Milaor,Iriga City and in Ocampo, Camarines Sur and in Daet, Cam. Norte were also approved as conduits.

The beneficiaries were encouraged to save as they are required to undergo financial literacy trainings being by the bank and also open a savings account at a very minimal amount to help develop the habit of saving.

Michael Jordan Roquid, ACPC focal person in Bicol said that this is just the beginning of a speedy  release of SURE loans as there already eight (8) existing conduits (banks and coops) in Camarines Sur. He added that all the municipalities in Camarines Sur are eligible under the SURE.

It will be recalled that Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol allocated P100 million to be loaned out to farmers in Camarines Sur during his visit to the province in January this year to sympathize to the Bicolanos who were mostly affected by the typhoon Usman. (Lovella P. Guarin / photos by Ramon Adversario, Jr.)