State-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) yesterday vowed to work with government partners for the immediate implementation of a new law that frees agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from agrarian debts.
Republic Act No. 11953, or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act which was signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on July 7, condones all loans, including interests, penalties, and surcharges incurred by ARBs from land awarded to them under Presidential Decree 27 (Tenant Emancipation Decree issued in 1972), Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988), and Republic Act No. 9700 (An Act strengthening the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program [CARP] and extending the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands issued in 2009).
Under the new law, the national government will write off P57.74 billion worth of land amortizations managed by Landbank.
This will relieve over 649,000 ARBs tilling 1.17 million hectares of land debt.
“We are proud to be part of this landmark initiative of the Marcos administration to free farmers from debt and help them start anew,” Landbank president and chief executive officer Lynette Ortiz said in a statement.
“Landbank will likewise continue to pour investments and extend support initiatives for farmers nationwide to boost their productivity and income.”
Landbank said that of the P57.74 billion, the national government will condone outright P14.56 billion in principal loans of over 263,000 ARBs upon the effectivity of the law.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), in coordination with Landbank, will also expedite the processing of the remaining P43.17 billion principal loans of over 385,000 ARBs.
In coordination with the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council Executive Committee (PARC ExCom) and with the technical expertise of Landbank, the DAR will issue the implementing rules and regulations of the new law within 60 days from the issuance of the Act.
Landbank has so far extended P2.7 billion in loans to 2,356 individual ARBs and 469 ARB cooperatives and farmers’ associations nationwide.
Aside from credit assistance, the bank also provides financial literacy and capability-building seminars to make sure borrowers are equipped with basic financial knowledge to manage their finances and boost their income.*PNA