Farmers oppose the inclusion of Landbank resources in Maharlika Fund – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the Landbank of the Philippines will deviate from its mandate if it contributes to the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF). Based on the proposed MIF, Landbank will chip in as much as P50-billion to the proposed sovereign wealth fund. The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) which is undergoing a merger with Landbank will contribute another P25-billion.

Landbank’s primary mandate is agricultural financing through financial assistance and support services to small farmers and fishers, agrarian reform beneficiaries, and MSMEs in the agriculture sector. In 2021, Landbank delivered support to its mandated priority sectors with a loan portfolio reaching P835.27 billion. In the same period, it provided assistance to more than 3 million farmers and fishers.

“Ang mandato ng Landbank ay pagtulong at pagbibigay ng financial assistance sa mga magsasaka at sa rural population. Ang paglipat ng P50-bilyon mula sa Landbank para sa MIF ay pagkakait ng pondo sa mga magsasaka. Magkakaroon ito ng direktang epekto — kung hindi makakautang o malilimitahan ang pag-utang ng mga magsasaka sa Landbank, matutulak sila sa mga loansharks at posibleng mabaon sa utang,” according to Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP. “Pakinabang lamang sa iilan at dayuhan ang MIF. Bulnerable rin na mauuwi itong MIF sa korapsyon, ng mga kroni at kasabwat ni Marcos Jr,” Ramos added.

“Landbank can help more if it will further simplify its loan processes and make its programs more accessible to small farmers and fishers,” according to KMP.

“Ang panawagan namin ay subsidyo at ayuda sa masa. Ngayon, ang mga manggagawa, magsasaka at kawani pa ang kukuhaan ng kanilang social security fund para ilagay sa MIF. Hindi ito makatarungan at hindi kami papayag,” the peasant leader further said.

KMP strongly opposes the MIF and even found it oddly disturbing that conglomerate son/billionaire turned Senator Mark Villar is pushing for the legislation and creation of the MIF.

“Even former BSP Governor Magtanggol Gunigundo said creating the Maharlika Investment Fund will be very dangerous as the country already has a whopping P13.70 trillion in debt. However we look at it, the Maharlika Fund is not for the benefit and use of the majority of Filipinos. It will be for the economic interest of local and foreign big businesses, investors, and conglomerates,” the group said.

KMP said it is highly likely that Marcos Jr will use the MIF to consolidate his hold and control over the local ruling elite. “Napakaliit na nga ng nakalaan sa magsasaka, dudukutan pa ng malalaking negosyante at matataas na opisyal. The minuscule funds allocated for farmers should be off-limits for this risky investment fund. The economic managers are wholly misguided, farmers and agriculture should be given investments not taken from. Hands off farmer funds!” Ramos ended. #

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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