BACACAY, Albay—Despite the heavy rains, 58 farmers from 56 barangays of this town flocked to the Municipal Agriculture Office to have their documents checked and verified by representatives of the Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC), Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), Albay Provincial Agriculture Office and the MAO of Bacacay (Dr. John Paul B. Serrano) on February 6, 2020 as they will be receiving the Expanded Survival and Recovery Assistance for Rice Farmers (SURE Aid) loan program amounting to Php15,000.00.
“Mauran o mainit man, kaipuhan kong magdigdi dahil marhay ining programa kan gobyerno sa samong mga parauma. Asin ining programa, garo man sana regalo sako ta saaga, Pebrero 7, ika-65 kong kumpleanyo,” related Jesus Velarde of barangay Vinisitahan.
He also added that “lima an aki ko, puro ko napaeskwela sa pag-uma, pero ni saro warang gusto mag-uma! Dakulaon ining problema ko kun sisay sa sainda an maataman kaining uma pag wara na ako.”
Velarde tends a hectare of rice farm and plans to buy fertilizer and other inputs once he withdraw the loan amount from his cash card.
ACPC-5 Project Assistant Michael Jordan O. Roquid said that each farmer will be receiving a one-time Php15,000.00 loan without interest and payable for eight years. Under the SURE Aid, rice farmers who are farming an area of not more than one hectare and registered to the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) in their respective municipalities can avail of this loan.
He added that the SURE Aid Loan Program is very affordable for the small rice farmers as they need only to set aside P1,875.00 per year from their income to pay their loan.
LBP representative Armel Alcantara urged the farmers to pay religiously their loan so that they will be eligible to apply for other loan programs of LBP.
“Pag good payor ka, mas dakul an oportunidad na pasubliun ka kan bangko,” Alcantara added.
However, he informed the farmers that the cash card was designed to be used exclusively in LBP Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) only.
Alcantara disclosed that the DA-ACPC through the Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) allocated 45M pesos for the 3000 small rice farmers from Sorsogon and Albay.
This loan program will help rice farmers regain their capacity to continue their rice production, as they were affected by the initial impact of low palay prices resulting to the reduction or loss of their farm income.
Meanwhile, Bacacay MAO, Dr. John Paul B. Serrano still invites farmers to register in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).
Simultaneous with the event was the validation of farmers cooperatives and associations in Bacacay for DA accreditation of Agricultural Programs Coordinating Officer (APCO) for Albay and Sorsogon Florentino Ubalde.
Bacacay Mayor Armando B. Romano, in his message, assured all the farmers and fisherfolks present of the LGU support and programs that will help them move forward and capitalize on new opportunities. (jaysonmgonzales)