House panel erases farmers’ unpaid loan interest dues


The House Agrarian reform panel has written off the unpaid interests and related surcharges secured by farmers, fisherfolk and agrarian reform beneficiaries from the government agencies this week.

This developed after the House Committee on Agrarian Reform approved House Bill 280 or the Agrarian and Agricultural Credit Condonation Act which condones unpaid interests, penalties and surcharges of loans secured by farmers, fisherfolk and agrarian reform beneficiaries from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), People’s Credit and Finance Corp. (PCFC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), National Food Authority (NFA) and Quedancor.

At least P3.7 billion worth of loans, inclusive of interest, was released by said agencies in form of loans to farmers, fisherfolks and agrarian reform beneficiaries. The collection, however, only amounted to 35 percent or P1.7 billion.

In their explanatory note, House Bill 280’s auhtors and Reps. Cresente Paez and Anthony Bravo of Coop-Natcco party-list underscored that it is imperative that such measure is passed, considering that farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries are not only entrepreneurs in bucolic areas but are also partners in achieving progress.

“The measure is a win-win solution both for the delinquent borrowers who want to restore their credit credibility and for the government agencies who cannot write off interests, penalties and surcharges of delinquent accounts due to the limitation of the State Audit Code of the Philippines or P.D. 1445. Likewise, the bill provides safeguards to avoid abuse by the borrowers,” Paez said.

“This measure supports the program of the Aquino administration towards inclusive growth. The government will not lose anything if the condonation program is implemented since only the interests, penalties and surcharges of delinquent loans will be condoned, not the principal amount,” Bravo added. LLANESCA T. PANTI



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