Lawmakers welcomed the House of Representatives’ final reading approval of a bill restructuring and condoning all interests, surcharges and other penalties of farmers and fishermen loans from government lending agencies to help the agricultural sector become more productive.
One of bill’s authors, Rep. Arnolfo Teves of Negros Oriental was referring to the proposed Agrarian and Agr cultural Loan Restructuring Act which aims to provide for the restructuring and condonation of unpaid interests, penalties, and surcharges on loans secured by farmers, fisherfolk and agrarian reform beneficiaries
(ARBs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, People’s Credit and Finance Corp., Cooperative Dev’t. Authority, National Food Authority, and Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp.
Teves, author of House Bill 2877, e pressed confidence that his proposed measure would also hurdle the Senate without hindrance for the much needed immediate support for the overburdened farmers and fisherfolk due to the ballooning interests of their loans. Maricel V. Cruz
Teves added that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), gave special mention to the agricultural sector as one of the main drivers of his administration’s push for growth and employment and even committed to increase agricultural production and to drive the sector toward modernization.
Teves also said that the President assured farmers and fishermen that credits and financial assistance to their sector would be one of the major advancements of his administration.
Meawhile, AGRI Party-list Rep. Wilbert T. Lee thanked the House
leadership led by Speaker Martin G. Romualdez for the passage of House Bill 6680, which aims to ease the impact of natural calamities on affected agrarian reform beneficiaries providing them with full insurance coverage.
“This is a big win for agrarian reform beneficiaries, especially those who live in areas that are becoming more and more vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” Lee said.
“This measure is crucial for our food security efforts because we give farmers the chance to recover from the calamities that now occur more frequently. Winner Tayo Lahat dito dahil masisiguro ang supply ng pagkain,” he added.
The House of Representatives earlier approved HB 6880, which amends Republic Act 6657, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, to include full insurance coverage for compensable losses to all qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries actively tilling and who have made investments in any growing crops or stocks in fisheries farms, production inputs, livestock, and other farming implements.
Compensable losses include those resulting from natural phenomenon, plant diseases, pest infestations, and loss of life or injury to qualified beneficiaries due to accident or any of the aforementioned causes.
With the passage of HB 6680, the AGRI lawmaker expressed optimism that the House would also approve his proposed measure making insurance mandatory for palay and other essential crops.
“The agriculture sector is at the forefront of the climate crisis, especially in our country which is hit by tropical cyclones more than any other country in the world. The passage of HB 6680 is a big step forward but more needs to be done,” Lee said.
“A strong typhoon can easily wipe out months of hard work and deprive our farmers not only of their harvest for the Filipino consumers, but more importantly, their chance to support their families,” he added.
Lee’s House Bill 1298 makes insurance for essential crops mandatory and provides a legal basis for the National Food Authority to shoulder the premium for indigent farmers subject to equitable shares in insurance proceeds.