MANILA (UPDATE)— President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday approved a one-year moratorium on the amortization of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), fulfilling his promise to ease the debt burden of farmers, the agrarian reform department said.
"Marcos, Jr. today signed the Executive Order imposing a year-long moratorium on payments on the annual amortization and interest payments of ARBs for agricultural lands distributed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)," the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said in a press release.
The President first revealed the move during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, saying this opportunity could "unburden" farmers and boost their productivity.
DAR Secretary Conrado Estrella III said the EO was issued "in preparation" for the call of the President to pass a measure that would condone the loans of agrarian reform beneficiaries who still have unpaid amortization.
“We always think about the farmers’ welfare. The one-year moratorium and condonation of farmers’ loan payment will lead to freedom of farmers from debts,” Estrella said.
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The DAR chief vowed to work with Congress to amend the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law on easing the debt payment, and called on legislators to pass a measure that would condone the loans of ARBs with unpaid amortization and interest.
The proposed debt condonation covers some P58.125 billion and 654,000 beneficiaries in 1.18 million hectares of awarded lands, said Marcos.
Members of the media have yet to receive a copy of the EO, which the Official Gazette has yet to publish.