Magsasaka party list will continue to push for debt-consolidation law – Manila Bulletin

The Magsasaka party list continues to push for passage of a bill that would seek to condone debt burdens and amortizations accrued by Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).

Sugar Cane Farmers (Manila Bulletin File Photo)

“Tolerating the debts of the beneficiaries of agrarian reform now is not only a step in the right direction in the pursuit of social justice, but will also provide an incentive for economic growth in which the country’s agricultural sector will be at the forefront,” said Robert Nazal, Representative of the Magsasaka party list.

Nazal promised that as soon as the internal dispute on his party list was settled, he would press for the measure to be approved. He was referring to the Supreme Court (SC) issuing an injunction (TRO) accepting him as a member of the House of Representatives.

READ: https://mb.com.ph/2022/10/20/comelec-to-abide-respect-sc-resolution-on-magsasaka-pl-dispute/

“The beneficiary farmers get a fresh start and are freed from the bondage that the law really wanted to free them from,” he said.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said in his first State of the Union (SONA) address that his administration will push for a year-long ARB debt moratorium.

READ: https://mb.com.ph/2022/07/25/marcos-to-grant-1-year-moratorium-on-payments-interest-for-agrarian-reform-beneficiaries/

Marcos estimated that the grant would cover approximately “58.125 billion pesos benefiting approximately 654,000 ARBs totaling 1.18 million hectares of granted land.”

Nazal pointed out that the government has had difficulty collecting loans granted to ARBs and hence the need to approve these debts.

“However, despite the noble intentions, the government currently has an astounding recoverable deficit from the above loans to the land and the loans secured by the beneficiaries of the agrarian reform Shouldering loans at all, let alone compound interest, penalties or surcharges,” he said.

In his statement, he cited data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showing that Philippine banks’ loans to the agricultural and agricultural sector had increased by 19.3 percent, to 851.76 pesetas from 713.6 billion pesetas in 2020 billion pesetas in 2022.

“In sum, extending the burden on farmers’ beneficiaries benefits no one. Current interest increases debt excessively, but debt remains debt. The government cannot afford the collection costs,” Nazal concluded.

Last September, the House Farm Reform Committee formed a Technical Working Group (TWG) to consolidate several House bills seeking toleration of the ARB debt.

READ: https://mb.com.ph/2022/09/14/farmers-debt-condonation-bill-moves-forward-in-house/

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