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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Speaker Romualdez says enactment of law condoning debt of agrarian reform beneficiaries will help farmers earn more, increase production
26 May 2023 12:00:19 PM

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Friday said the expected signing into law of the measure condoning billions of pesos of debt of agrarian reform beneficiaries in the country will help many of our farmers boost their productivity and earn more.

It could be recalled that the House of Representatives approved last December 12, 2022 its version of the measure, or House Bill (HB) No. 6336, while the Senate approved the counterpart measure last March 6, 2023. The measure is now awaiting the signature of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr.

The bill condoning the unpaid of agrarian reform beneficiaries is among the 31 the House has approved to date, out of the 42 priority measures President Marcos has identified through the Legislative-Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC).

“When our farmers are freed from the burden of debt, they would be able to invest more in their land and improve their productivity. This can lead to better yields and profits, which can help improve the lives of our farmers and their families,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“This relief to hundreds of thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries gains even more significance now that we are facing the twin challenges of increased prices of farm inputs, particularly fertilizers, and the harmful effects of climate change on the agriculture sector,” he added.

The measure condones P57.557 billion in principal debt of 610,054 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) tilling a total of 1,173,101.57 hectares of agrarian reform lands.

In addition, the measure stops the execution of a final and executory administrative or judicial ruling due to the failure of an ARB to pay the 30-year amortization plus 6% annual interest that would disqualify him and result in the cancellation of his agrarian reform title.

“This measure would complement the various programs and assistance to our farmers the Department of Agriculture is implementing to uplift the lives of our farmers,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“We need to provide our farmers all the support we can to promote increased productivity and help us attain food security. The House of Representatives will continue to explore more avenues to revitalize our agriculture sector,” he added.

It could be recalled that aside from crafting laws, the House of Representatives has wielded its oversight powers to help President Marcos, Jr. who is also the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, put the sector in order.

When the price of onion surged to over P700 a kilo last December, Speaker Romualdez called for a congressional investigation in aid of legislation to bring prices down for consumers and likewise protect local farmers from exploitation by a cartel that corners supply and manipulates prices.

He likewise urged authorities like the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine Competition Commission, and the DA to work together and pursue the leads obtained in the congressional hearings to build an airtight case against the onion cartel. (END)