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Bill condoning farmers' loans under CARP gets Senate's final nod

The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill that condones all loans including interests, penalties, and surcharges of farmers who were awarded agricultural lands under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

With 23 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions, Senate Bill 1850 secured the approval of the upper chamber.

Senator Cynthia Villar, the sponsor of the measure, earlier said that the bill shall cover two types of loans to agrarian reform beneficiaries:
ARBs that have Agrarian Reform Receivables Account with Land Bank and have not paid or have incomplete payments of their amortization on the principal, interests, penalties, and surcharges of their lands under Presidential Decree 27, Republic Act 6657 and its subsequent amendments. This involves 409,206.91 hectares or debt amounting to P14.499 billion to be written off from the books of Land Bank
Voluntary Land Transfer Scheme and Direct Payment Scheme as provided by RA 6657, which has 92,824 agrarian reform beneficiaries. The land area covers 178,063.95 hectares amounting to P119.61 million to be paid from Agrarian Reform Fund.

The bill also seeks to dismiss motu proprio all the cases related to the non-payment of agrarian reform beneficiaries with the Department of Agrarian Reform and that they will be exempted from the payment of estate taxes.

The bill also reiterates the provision of RA 6657 that the land shall not be sold, transferred, or conveyed within 10 years except through hereditary succession or to the government or the Land Bank of the Philippines or to other qualified beneficiaries through the DAR from the issuance of the Certificate of Land Ownership Award. — DVM, GMA Integrated News