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President Marcos extends agrarian debt moratorium until 2025

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signs an Executive Order (E.O.) ‘Extending the Moratorium on Payments of Amortizations on Agrarian Debt by Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries’ in a ceremony at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central Office in Quezon City on September 12, 2023. In photo are House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III, and Senator Cynthia Villar. (RTVM screengrab)

MANILA, (PIA) — President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed an Executive Order (EO) for the two-year extension of EO No. 4, s. 2023, that imposed a one-year moratorium on land amortization and interest payments of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) for agricultural lands distributed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In addition to this, I am also signing an Executive Order (EO) for the two-year extension of EO No. 4, s. 2023, dahil merong ibang mga beneficiaries na hindi nakaabot sa unang IRR,” Pres. Marcos said when he welcomed the presentation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11953, also known as the New Agrarian Reform Emancipation Act (NAEA), in a ceremony at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central Office in Quezon City on Tuesday, September 12.

This provides for a moratorium on the payment of the principal obligation and interest  on amortization payable by the ARBs, to include even those who were not covered by the NAEA,” he added.

The new directive extends the moratorium on the payment of the principal obligation and interest of the amortization due and payable by ARBs for the lands awarded to them, and extends the agrarian debt moratorium implemented under E.O. No. 4 issued on September 13, 2023 for another two years until September 13, 2025.

The agrarian debt moratorium extension aims to benefit approximately 129,059 beneficiaries who are tilling 158,209.94 hectares of land.  These beneficiaries did not meet the cutoff date of July 24, 2023 stipulated in R.A. No. 11953 which would have qualified them for the condonation of their agrarian debt under the said law.

Through this extension, it will further enhance the capabilities of farmer beneficiaries to make their farms more productive by providing them with the necessary financial resources to use for farm inputs and equipment that will help increase farm yields and incomes.

During the event, DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III presented the IRR on the NAEA to Pres. Marcos, 15 days before the expiration period on September 22, 2023. 

Signed into law on July 9, 2023, the NAEA condones all agrarian reform debt incurred by agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) from the lands awarded to them by the government.  The condonation covers an estimated 1.173 million hectares of land that will benefit an estimated 610,054 ARBs who incurred an estimated P57.55 billion in unpaid amortizations. 

The law also terminates the payment of P206.247 million in unpaid just compensation to the landowners by 10,201 ARBs tilling 11,531 hectares of land acquired through the Voluntary Land Transfer or the Direct Payment Scheme (VLT/DPS).

Additional benefits for ARBs include exemption from payment of estate tax and mandatory inclusion in the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA) to enable ARBs easy access to support services of the Department of Agriculture. 

The IRR also provides procedures to accelerate the processes of condonation of the agrarian debt and the payment by the government of unpaid just compensation to landowners for lands acquired under the VLT/DPS.

Moreoever, outright condonation under the IRR covers 263,622 ARBs tilling some 409,206 hectares, whose names under the loan details are in the Agrarian Reform Registry (ARR) of the Land Bank of the Philippines. 

Meanwhile, the condonation of the unpaid debt of the remaining ARBs, including those whose lands are covered by Collective Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CCLOAs), which are subject to parcelization for individuals titling under the Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling (SPLIT) Project, will be completed within three years from July 24, 2023, the date of the law’s effectivity. (PIA-NCR)

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Jerome Carlo Paunan



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