Sitangkai is a small municipality in southern Philippines with a population size of about 52,000 inhabitants. The island’s economy is based primarily on fishing and farming. The infrastructure was characterized by insufficient and poor quality of wooden bridges, poor road conditions, no community facility and limited access to markets for local agricultural and fisheries. The motor boats equipped with combustion engines are the major source of transportation and in the absence of sufficient bridges and road infrastructure, these boats were used intensively causing environmental damage.

The Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK), a government owned commercial bank, identified the problems and developed a tailored project financing package to uplift the island, help the local population and preserve the environment.

The most innovative element of this project is that the LANDBANK developed an integrated financial package and ensured that all major problems of the entire municipality are addressed holistically, systematically and economically taking in to account the social and environmental requirements of the area. The holistic approach of the LANDBANK included: construction and restoration of wooden footbridges and rock causeways with drainage systems across the island; construction and restoration of farm-to-market roads; and construction of community hall/ gym facility for sports, medical missions, cultural and family gatherings and other events.

As a government owned commercial bank it is part of its mission to serve the under-privileged areas and communities. This project financing played a major role in achieving this objective. In addition, it also helped enhancing the bank’s credit portfolio.

Sustainable Development

Environmental Dimension
The heavy use of motorized boats was causing serious environmental damage such as high CO2 emissions and water pollution. Because of the new and restored footbridges, rock causeways and roads, the use of environmentally harmful boats have been reduced drastically.

Social Dimension
The community hall/ gym facility has provided a major boost to the community life. The local people can now get-together for special occasions. They organise sporting, cultural and family events. In addition, the medical camps can take place and are directly contributing in improving the health conditions of the inhabitants.

Similarly, the footbridges are playing a key role in bringing the community together as the new infrastructure has made visits to each other easier.

Economic Dimension
Through improving the local infrastructure, the economy has got a new life. The local produce is now been transported to surrounding coastal areas and the markets within the municipality are also benefiting because of improved mobility. The trading activities are on the rise and so is the income level of the people of Sitangkai. Another major economic benefit of this project is through the construction of paved roads which is now protecting the people and their lands from floods. It is providing new business opportunities and the local farmers are now planting high value crops or investing in livestock business.

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