Legazpi City―The Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act that President Rodrigo Duterte is set to sign shortly is expected to “deliver a huge and immediate impact on the economy, on investments in the countryside and on inclusive growth” from the agriculture sector.
Principally authored by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda in the House, HB 8078 was merged with Senate Bill 1454 and hurdled the legislature’s bicameral conference committee recently. It will remove major restrictions provided under Commonwealth Act No. 141 governing the land patent program, easing up certain prohibitions in granting public farmlands to qualified beneficiaries.
Salceda said the new law would empower qualified farmland beneficiaries to legally manage and improve the land as a viable source of livelihood.
“For a country that has its roots on agriculture it is sad to note that agriculture only contributed 8.5 percent to the gross domestic product in 2017, “ Salceda said.
He and Sen. Richard Gordon, who authored the Senate version, agreed that the new law “is a game-changer.”