DA steps in to grant loans to farmers, fishers in Aklan
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that two weeks before the scheduled six-month closure of Boracay Island, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has laid down programs to cushion its adverse effect on Aklan’s agriculture and fisheries sectors.
In particular, Piñol recently flew to Kalibo to meet with the province’s farmer and fisherfolk groups and engaged them in a dialogue to determine their needs to tide over the six-month period when tourists who consume most of their produce would be absent.
“Initially, the DA through its agency, the Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) will release next week the initial loan fund of P39-million under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program which could be accessed by farmers and fisherfolk,” Piñol said.
Then he said that another loan portfolio intended to support agriculture and fisheries stakeholders, the Survival and Recovery Loan Program ( SURE), will also be granted to accredited farmers and fishermen in the area.
SURE Loans offers P25,000 per family without any collateral and Zero Interest so they could recover from a calamity.
“I also asked Aklan Vice Governor Reynaldo Quimpo and board members Nolly Sodusta, Soviet dela Cruz and Cecille Tirol to conduct a follow through consultation to determine what other interventions could be provided by the DA,” Piñol further said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, anticipating the adverse impact of the Boracay closure on people’s livelihood and jobs, has placed the island under a State of Calamity.