Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. today expressed his opposition to the merger of the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) saying it will further prejudice the country’s farming sector.
In an interview over Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN) in Cebu City, Marcos said the merger will deprive farmers of an agricultural bank that is mandated to serve their needs.
“Sa pautang we also have to think very hard about this Land Bank and DBP merger kasi kapag nag-merge na iyan, it will be a commercial bank. Wala na tayong agricultural bank so wala na tayong bangko na talagang naka-tugon sa pangangailangan ng farmers,” he said.
President Benigno Aquino III signed last February Executive Order No. 198 merging the two banks. With the merger, Land Bank will become the second biggest lender in terms of assets.
Marcos stated that under the present conditions, farmers find it difficult if not impossible to obtain credit from banks and other financial institutions and depriving them of a bank created specifically to address their needs will further worsen their condition.
Land Bank has claimed to be the “biggest credit provider to small farmers and fishers, local government units, and the biggest lender to microenterprises and SMEs among government financial institutions.”
DBP on the other hand is tasked “to provide banking services principally to cater to the medium and long-term needs of agricultural and industrial enterprises with emphasis on small and medium-scale industries.”
Banking experts have also expressed apprehension over the merger because Land Bank, having formidable assets, is expected to be aggressive in its expansion efforts and may just focus on profit-oriented initiatives that may jeopardize the small sectors like farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. also expressed surprise over the merger saying Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima should explain why he pushed for it through an executive order rather than a law passed by Congress.