STATE-RUN Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) is rolling out a lending program worth P10 billion for local government units (LGUs) to provide them with emergency funding to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a press release yesterday, LANDBANK said it allocated P10 billion for its Help via Emergency Loan Assistance for LGUs (HEAL) Program.

The loans carry a fixed interest rate of five percent payable in a maximum of five years, with a one-year grace period for the principal amount.

The bank said both client and non-client provincial, city, and municipal governments can avail of the loan.

“The HEAL Program is LANDBANK’s way of supporting our LGUs deliver immediate health services, food, and basic commodities to their constituents during this crisis,” LANDBANK President and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo was quoted as saying.

Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act mandates financial institutions to provide “credit to productive sectors of the economy” with lower interest rates.

“Our LGUs are at the forefront of this adversity, and as our partners in development, we will continue to finance their recovery and rehabilitation needs,” Ms. Borromeo said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte imposed a month-long enhanced community quarantine throughout Luzon to arrest the spread of the virus which infected more than 2,300 and killed 96 as of Wednesday.

LANDBANK booked P18.51 billion in net earnings in 2019, up 29% from P15.48 billion in 2018. — B.M. Laforga