EO suspends loan payments to farmers for 1 year

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed an Executive Order (EO) declaring a one-year moratorium on loan repayments for land reform recipients, the Palace announced Tuesday.

The one-year moratorium will cancel 58.125 billion pesos of loans and benefit about 654,000 land reform beneficiaries and cover 1.18 million hectares of allocated land.

“It’s time to give back to the farmers,” the president said at the signing ceremony in Malacanang.

The Department of Land Reform (DAR) said the executive order is in the works for another achievement of the Marcos administration’s commitment, which is for Congress to pass legislation that will condone loans from land reform beneficiaries. with amortization and unpaid interest.

“We always think about the well-being of farmers. The one-year moratorium and the tolerance of farmers’ loan repayments will lead to the release of farmers from debt,” said Land Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III.

He also expressed his willingness to work and cooperate with the House of Representatives in amending Section 26 of Republic Act No. (RA) 6657, or the Comprehensive Land Reform Act of 1988.

Section 26 of RA 6657 requires ARBs that have received land to pay to the Land Bank of the Philippines in 30 annual installments at 6% interest per annum.

The DAR said the moratorium on land amortization and interest payments is intended to help relieve land reform beneficiaries of their debts, allowing them to use the money instead to develop their farms, maximizing their ability to produce and drive economic growth.

Executive Order 75, issued in 2019, directs all government agencies, offices, departments and bodies to surrender farmland to qualified land reform beneficiaries.

Currently, the government has a total of 52,000 hectares of unused agricultural land which will be distributed to landless veterans, landless surviving spouses and orphans of veterans and landless retirees of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.

Agricultural college graduates who are landless will also benefit from farmland acquired through EO 75.

On Tuesday, Estrella led the delegation of 160 agency officials, beneficiary farmers and advocates to Malacañang Palace to witness the signing of the decree declaring a one-year moratorium on loan repayments under the comprehensive land reform program. .

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