President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday signed a new law that will write off loans of more than 600,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) worth over ₱57 billion.
Republic Act 11953 or the "New Agrarian Emancipation Act" condones the amortization of principal payments, interests, and penalties on the land they are presently tilling.
It will benefit 610,054 ARBs, whose total payables to the Land Bank of the Philippines are at ₱57.56 billion. This covers a total of 1,173,101.575 hectares of agrarian reform lands.
This is the seventh law signed by Marcos since assuming office. The chief executive had asked Congress to pass this legislation during his first State of the Nation Address.
Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III earlier said it will also help in achieving the "president's goal of food security for the country and giving importance to the farmers whom Filipinos depend on for their sustenance."
Lawmakers hope making farmers debt-free would improve their productivity.
The Senate — led by agriculture, food, and agrarian reform committee chair Cynthia Villar ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the divergent provisions of Senate Bill 1850 and House Bill 6336 on March 22.
After the ratification, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno expressed support for the bill, saying it was among the priority legislative measures presented by economic managers to the president in a high-level discussion on solutions to cushion the effects of high inflation.
Source: CNN Philippines