Presidential sister Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz lauded Monday the Land Bank of the Philippines for being true to its mandate of serving the needs of the countryside while maintaining its lofty position among the country’s top commercial banks.
“It’s President Aquino’s goal to improve the attractiveness of the country to investors,” she said in a speech she delivered for her brother during the 47th anniversary celebration of LBP and the 20th anniversary of the Gawad Pitak awards held at the Heroes’ Hall of Malacanang.
Aquino-Cruz said President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III vowed in his inaugural address to attend to the needs of the countryside through irrigation, extension services, post harvest and improving the trading of agricultural commodities.
Aquino-Cruz said that Land Bank never failed to give distinction to outstanding achievers among the cooperatives, cooperative rural banks and micro small and medium enterprises.
She was assisted in the awarding rites by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, chairman of the Senate committee on cooperatives, LBP president/CEO Gilda E. Pico; and Congressman Jose Ping-ay.
The Ginintuang Gawad Pitak award for agri-based category went to Masisit-Dacal Livelihood Cooperative from Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, which got P1 million worth of fixed assets.
The Ginintuang Gawad Pitak award for cooperative rural bank went to Cooperative Bank of Misamis Oriental from Cagayan de Oro City with P500,000 worth of fixed assets.
The Entrepreneur of the Year went to Engr. Ramir Bonghanoy of Bon- Ace Fashion Tools in Minglanila, Cebu (who won P 350,000); the Outstanding Agri-based Entrepreneur went to spouses Myrna and Benjamin Casta Sr. of 3M Grains Dealer in Lupao, Nueva Ecija who won P 250,000; and Outstanding Non-Agri-based Entrepreneur went to spouses Samuel and Jeanette Lam of JASA Builders Inc. in Bolinao, Pangasinan.
Winners under the Non-Agri-based category were: National Irrigation Administration Region IV Employees Multi Purpose Cooperative (MPC) in Pila, Laguna (1st place) with P300,000; Dingle Government Workers Development Cooperative in Dingle, Iloilo (2nd) with P250,000; Sta. Cruz Savings and Development Cooperative in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur (3rd) with P 200,000; Escalante Public and Private School Teachers and Employees MPC in Escalante City, Negros Occidental (4th) with P150,000 and Kapalong MPC in Kapalongb, Davao del Norte with P100,000 (5th).
The Gawad Pitak agri-based category winners were: San Joaquin MPC in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte (1st place) with P500,000; Kabalikat sa Diyos at Bayan MPC in Odiongan, Romblon (2nd) with P 400,000; Barbaza MPC in Barbaza, Antique (3rd) with P 300,000; Bagumbayan PMPC in Bagumbayan Llanera, Nueva Ecija (4th) with P 200,000; and Catmon MPC in Sta. Maria Bulacan (5th) with P 100,000.
Relatedly, LBP president Pico said the outstanding loans of Land Bank to the countryside stood at P17.4 billion as of June 2010 benefiting 3.7 million farmers/fisherfolk.
For SMEs, lending reached P19.5-billion of which P 4.8 billion went to micro SMEs and the balance to SMEs, Pico said.