2023 July 7
ECONOMIC DEV’T. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. receives a round of applause after the signing of Republic Act 11593 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act at Malacañang Palace on Friday (July 7, 2023). Marcos said the condonation of agrarian reform beneficiaries’ debt is vital in ensuring food security and economic development.
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday said he is confident that the condonation of agrarian reform beneficiaries’ (ARBs) debt will spur economic growth and boost agricultural productivity in the country.
“It is important to us that we succeed not just for bragging rights. But it is important for us to succeed because it is the development of very crucial part of our economy, a very crucial part of our food security, and it is something that is absolutely necessary,” Marcos said in an interview at Malacañan Palace in Manila.
“This is so important to our economy. This is so important to our survival as a country that the agricultural sector is strong,” he added.
Marcos issued the statement, after the ceremonial signing of Republic Act (RA) 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act and the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) awarding of 32,441 land titles to some 27,132 ARBs nationwide.
RA 11953 covers the PHP57.56 billion in agrarian arrears, benefitting 610,054 ARBs who are tilling a total of 1,173,101.57 hectares of awarded land.
Marcos said he sees “no reason for us to continue to chase the unpaid loans, the unpaid benefits (of farmer-beneficiaries) that have ballooned over the many, many years.”
This, as Marcos said his administration took into consideration the ARBs’ financial situation.
“And that’s what this does because now, we are recognizing and bringing into the whole system of our economy our agrarian reform beneficiaries, giving them not only a livelihood (but also) giving their families hope for the future,” he said.
Marcos noted that about 1 million of hectares of land tilled by the ARBs could now be used in enhancing the thrust of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for food security.
“Malaking bagay ‘yun sa ating produksyon. Kasama ito sa ating programa ng Department of Agriculture para pagandahin ang ating produksyon at pababain ang (It’s a big help for our production. It is part of the Department of Agriculture’s program to improve our production and lower the) cost of production,” Marcos, who also heads the DA, said.
Loreto Bautista says the condonation of debt is a “big help” to all the farmers like him who are part of the government’s agrarian reform program.
Loreto Bautista, a 76-year-old agrarian reform beneficiary from Calaca, Batangas, said the condonation of debt would be helpful to him and his family now that he fully owns the awarded land.
“Masayang-masaya [ako]. Malaking tulong ito na sarili na ‘yung sinasaka (I’m ecstatic. It is a big help that we will now have our own land),” he told reporters.
Marcos assured the ARBs of his administration’s continued support for them.
He said the DAR would continue to make a progress report to ensure that the farmer-beneficiaries will be provided with necessary assistance from the government
Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)