AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee hailed the New Agrarian Emancipation Act to be signed on Friday by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. as a win for farmer-beneficiaries, who will now be unburdened of their obligations to the government for parcels of land they received under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988.
Lee on Wednesday said “we thank President Bongbong Marcos for signing into law this measure that has long been sought by our farmers.”
“By eliminating their debt, our farmers can focus more on their land. They would be able to devote the resources they would otherwise have used to pay off debts for the development of their land and the improvement of their farming practices.”
“Finally, they will be unburdened of their loans, interests, and penalties that contribute to their inability to overcome poverty, and are also major factors that have kept them from becoming fully productive.”
Lee, principal author of the House version of the New Agrarian Emancipation Act (NAEA), said that the new law would allow farmers to further increase their productivity by providing them additional financial resources through the condonation of their annual amortization and interests, including penalties or surcharges.
The new measure effectively condones an estimated ₱58.125 billion in unpaid amortization amounts, interest payments, surcharges, and penalties of existing loans of some 654,000 agrarian reforms beneficiaries (ARBs) secured under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), repealing Section 26 of RA No. 6657, as amended, and Section 6 of EO No. 228, series of 1987, as well as pertinent provisions of other agrarian laws.
It also mandates the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to issue, whenever necessary, a Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA), or any other title based on the applicable agrarian reform law, and provides that condonation shall lift all mortgage liens in favor of the national government, as represented by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), attached to the land acquired.
Moreover, the new law exempts the agrarian reform lands of ARBs, as estates, from the payment of estate tax.
“Dahil marami po sa ating mga ARBs ang nalulugmok sa kahirapan, kapag tinanggal po natin sa kanila ang kanilang mga pinagkakautangan ay bababa rin po ang dami ng mahihirap sa ating bansa,” said the lawmaker.
“Mabibigyan na ang ating mga magsasaka ng pagkakataon na iahon ang kanilang mga sarili sa kahirapan at maki-ambag sa pag-angat ng ating ekonomiya. Ito po ang ibig nating sabihin sa Winner Tayo Lahat,” added Lee.
The legislator explained that “by eliminating their debt, our farmers can focus more on their land. They would be able to devote the resources they would otherwise have used to pay off debts for the development of their land and the improvement of their farming practices.”
The New Agrarian Emancipation Act covers a total of 1.18 million hectares of awarded land. The total emancipated land area will require an additional ₱4.7 billion in funding for seed subsidies.