Duterte threatens Landbank: Restructure or face abolition

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 22) — President Rodrigo Duterte said the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) should be doing more to help farmers and those in the coconut industry.

"I will give you until the end of July to give me a plan or else I will ask Congress to reconfigure you or whatnot... if there is no viable plan for the farmer then it is all commercial transaction, I plan to abolish it," Duterte said, veering away from his prepared State of the Nation Address.

Duterte made the statement in relation to the Coconut Levy Fund, urging Congress to file bills to disburse the long withheld taxes taken from coconut farmers during the Marcos Administration that was allegedly siphoned to corporations of the late strongman's cronies.

Two connected bills on disbursing the coco levy fund to the public were filed during the 17th Congress, and both were vetoed by Duterte, citing the lack of vital safeguards.

With the 18th Congress having to refile an improved version coco levy bills, Duterte turned his attention to Landbank on giving farmers better access to funding.

"What the heck is happening to you? You are supposed to finance agricultural enterprises and endeavours. Bakit wala? Bakit -- why can't you just buy a few wagons or whatever, go to the countryside, and ask the people if there are cooperatives," Duterte said.

A government financial institution, the Landbank was created in 1963 to focus on helping farmers, fisherfolk, and their cooperatives. It is one of the top five banks in the country in terms of assets.

Its Board of Directors is composed of the bank's president, the Finance Secretary, the Agriculture Scretary, the Agrarian Reform Secretary, the Labor Secretary two representatives from the private sector and two representatives from the agrarian reform beneficiaries sector.