STATE-RUN Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) has launched a new credit facility worth P2 billion to help existing and potential commercial fishing operators acquire vessels.

LANDBANK said in a statement on Tuesday that under the new lending program, qualified borrowers can apply for a loan up to 80% of the acquisition cost to procure a brand-new, second- hand or refurbished commercial fishing boat and other related equipment.

The state-run lender said eligible borrowers under the program are commercial fishing operators from small and medium enterprises, cooperatives, and large enterprises.

It added that purchases qualified as commercial fishing vessels are fishing boats, ships or water crafts with a gross tonnage of 3.1 or higher.

“The boat to be financed should be in seaworthy condition, properly equipped with life-saving, communication, safety and other equipment, and operated and maintained in accordance with the standards set by the Maritime Industry Authority,” LANDBANK said in the statement.

Loans under the new credit facility will have an interest rate of 5% per annum for three years, subject to repricing, and payable up to 10 years.

“LANDBANK remains steadfast in supporting the fisheries sector. We are looking to cover the requirements for fishing vessels to assist more fishers in boosting their production and profit, and contribute to ensuring food security in the country,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo was quoted as saying. — R.M.D. Ochave