Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Sec. Emmanuel Piñol announced Monday that two coastal towns in Lanao del Sur would have their first-ever three automated teller machines (ATMs) by Dec. 3.
Recipients of the ATMs are the towns of Malabang and Balabagan whose workers have been doing their bank transactions and salary encashment in the neighboring cities of Cotabato, Pagadian, and Cagayan de Oro for a long time.
In a Facebook post, Piñol said the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) ATMs intends to make life easier for workers of the Matling Industrial Commercial Corporation (MICC), a cassava starch manufacturing company which has been operating for the past 90 years in Malabang town without the services of any bank, much less an ATM booth.
“The town has no bank, not even an ATM and the nearest bank for the people is either Pagadian City or Cotabato City,” Piñol said.
He said MICC has requested MinDA to facilitate the opening of a DBP branch in Malabang town, preferably within the MICC compound to serve the needs of the thousands of farmers who have to encash their checks.
Piñol said that he has brought the matter to the attention of DBP president Emmanuel Herbosa in August this year who in turn promised to support the project and look into the viability of establishing a DBP branch in Malabang.
He said DBP-Cagayan de Oro City branch manager Wilfredo Kaamiño, who led the inspection team, approved three ATM sites in the area.
“Simple problems are affecting the lives of our people which could easily be solved if only these are brought to the attention of our top decision-makers,” Piñol said.
He noted that by Dec. 3, the people of Malabang can enjoy quick bank transactions using the ATM booths.
“I and DBP president Emmanuel Herbosa, along with the Armed Forces commanders in Western Mindanao, will attend the inauguration of the three ATMs which will be installed in Malabang and Balabagan towns,” the MinDA chief said.
He said two of the ATMs will be in Malabang, one in the town hall and the other in the compound of the MICC, which buys cassava from farmers to produce starch.
The DBP and MinDA team met with the officers of MICC and the mayors of Malabang and Balabagan during the inspection trip a month ago.
Mayors Tomas Macapodi and Edna Benito of Malabang and Balabagan towns, respectively, both thanked DBP and MinDA for working on the establishment of the ATMs in their towns.
Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, commander of the Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command, vowed to ensure the security of the teller machines.
With the establishment of the ATMs, residents of the two towns, especially cassava farmers will be saved from the trouble of traveling about 100 kilometers just to transact with the banks. “These all happened because MinDA has adopted a policy of reaching out to the remotest areas of the island,” Piñol said. (PNA)