State-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) has signed an agreement with the Provincial Government of Isabela, the Nagkaisang Magsasaka ng Isabela (NMI) Agriculture Cooperative, and PayMaya Philippines, Inc. to facilitate the disbursement of funds to the farmer-members of NMI Agri-Coop and tobacco farmers in the province, a top official said.
DBP President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel G. Herbosa said under the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), PayMaya Philippines Inc. would issue Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Identification Cards to more or less 5,000 member-farmers of NMI Agri-Coop and 5,000 tobacco farmers of Isabela.
“DBP is honored to be a part of this momentous undertaking,” Herbosa said. “The issuance of ATM ID Cards by PayMaya will allow for the cashless disbursement of funds including proceeds of the farmers’ share from the excise taxes.”
Under the MOU, DBP would also offer its Digital Banking Portal (DBP2) both to the Provincial Government of Isabela and NMI Agri-Coop to facilitate ease in monitoring and disbursement of funds. Thru the DBP2, they can view and monitor their cash balances and transaction history as well as perform electronic fund transfers, bulk credit or debit upload instructions, liquidity management among others.
The NMI Agri-Coop was established in August 28, 2019 through the support of the Provincial Government of Isabela with the primary objective of mitigating the impact of Republic Act No. 11203 or the Rice Tarrification Law of 2019. Isabela is widely-regarded as the rice and corn granary of Luzon accounting for 12 percent and 21 percent of the total annual rice and yellow corn production of the country as of 2018.
PayMaya, the digital financial services arm of Voyager Innovations, is a FinTech company offering integrated consumer and merchant payment solutions. It provides Filipinos with an e-wallet that allows them to pay cashless transactions any time of the day, from anywhere in the world, and from any device.
Herbosa said DBP would also be opening a financing window for NMI Agri-Coop under the Expanded Rice Credit Assistance of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ERCA-RCEF) component of the Rice Tarrification Law.
He said the loan proceeds will be utilized as working capital to procure palay from the marginalized member-farmers of NMI Agri-Coop at a premium rate, adding, “…trading and all other financial transactions would be coursed through the ATM ID cards…”
“This MOU would also benefit the tobacco farmers in the province as proceeds from the excise taxes from locally-manufactured cigarettes, barley and native tobacco would be channeled through the ATM ID cards,” Herbosa said.
Under Republic Act No. 7171, the National Government extends special support to tobacco farmers which are sourced from the 15 percent of excise taxes on locally-manufactured Virginia-type of cigarettes.
Herbosa lauded the Isabela Provincial Government for initiating the project that intends to enhance the overall productivity, enhance product quality, increase incomes, and open possible entrepreneurial pursuits of local farmers through the use of available technology.