Starting today, Wednesday, over 600,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARB) may finally be able to avail of the benefits of a debt condonation program under Republic Act (RA) No. 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act (NAEA).
Another 129,000 other ARBs are expected to benefit from Executive Order (EO) No. 40, which was signed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., extending the moratorium on payments of amortization on agrarian debt by two years.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) finally completed the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the NAEA, which they presented to the President on Tuesday in Quezon City.
“Tomorrow, our job [in processing the applications] will start. And we extend that out of the 600,000 beneficiaries, Mr. President, we will try to accomplish the procedure in the condonation of about 200,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries,” DAR Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III said.
The IRR provides for procedures for processing of condonation of the agrarian and the payment by government of “unpaid unjust compensation” to landowners for lands acquired under the Voluntary Land Transfer or the Direct Payment Scheme (VLT/DPS).
The President signed RA 11953 last July 7, which will eliminate P57.55 billion unpaid amortizations of ARBs.
Other benefits for the ARBs include the exemption from payment of estate tax and mandatory inclusion in the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture to enable ARBs easy access to support service of the Department of Agriculture.
It also terminated the payment of P206.247 million in unpaid just compensation to landowners.
In a related development, Marcos also signed EO 40, which will benefit 129,059 ARBs, who were not covered by RA 11953.
“This provides for the moratorium on the payment of the principal obligation and interest on amortization payable by the agrarian reform beneficiary, to include even those who were not covered by the New Emancipation Law,” Marcos said.
Under the new issuance, the duration of EO 4, series of 2022, will be extended until September 13, 2025.
DAR and the Land Bank of the Philippines were tasked to come out with the IRR for EO 40, within 15 days after the effectivity of the new issuance.
Marcos said the RA 11953 and EO 40 would help make the country’s agriculture sector to become more competitive.
“This will enable us and the agrarian reform beneficiaries and the rest of our farmers to realize the utmost potential and reach for our aspirations for our families, for our communities, and for our country,” the Chief Executive said.
He thanked DAR for its timely completion of the IRR of RA 11953, which he considers as a “perfect birthday gift” since it realized one of his the priorities of his administration, which is to empower farmers.
Marcos will be celebrating his 66th birthday today, Wednesday.
Image credits: Rey Baniquet/NIB-PNA