LOCAL government units (LGUs) all over the country will have an opportunity to start their own economic stimulus programs to be funded by soft loans from the Land Bank of the Philippines.
In an interview aired over public briefing “Laging Handa,” Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) president and Quirino Gov. Dakila Carlo Cua said it is now incumbent upon the government to take the lead in creating investment opportunities after the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national economy.
He said small entrepreneurs were traumatized by the loss of their capitals as businesses failed as a fallout of the enforced lockdown and travel restrictions.
“I personally believe the government should take the lead in investing. Because of the COVID-19, the risks are scaring investors more so those only with small capital. I believe the government should invest in critically needed infrastructure, services, and facilities that are absolutely necessary to our people,” Cua said.
He identified improvements and assistance for farmers to modernize food production processes, online and internet-based services, as well as projects that will generate many jobs.
He admitted that many fifth class and municipalities will have trouble funding their own initiatives, hence the need for help from government financial institutions.
“Land Bank is providing a huge help because majority of LGUs are also cash-strapped. So we hope that for those who will avail of loans, the process will be speedy and transparent. We want to be sure these funds will go to the welfare of our people,” Cua said.
Landbank president Cecilia Borromeo said project Rise Up LGUs has an initial funding of P10 billion available to municipalities, cities or provinces that are seeking financial support for their stimulus programs. The loans will have a low interest of 4.5 percent fixed for one year.
“If LGUs are looking to expand their hospital capacities or needing help implementing their rolling market projects, this lending program is for them,” Borromeo said.
Borromeo said the Landbank management is looking for sources other than their internal funds to augment the Rise Up LGUs and further bring down the interest possibly to 3.5 percent.
“I believe in creating opportunities in the provinces for investments and employment. That saying “makikipagsapalaran sa Maynila” should be a thing of the past. I know many more of our people in the provinces would prefer to stay where they are if they can find jobs and sources of income without going to the cities,” Cua added.