WITH 245 affirmative votes and one abstention, the House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill condoning the unpaid debt of farmer-beneficiaries of the government’s agrarian reform program, which the first Marcos administration started.
House Bill (HB) No. 6336 is titled, “An Act emancipating agrarian reform beneficiaries from financial burden by condoning unpaid amortizations and interests and exempting payment of estate tax of agricultural lands awarded under comprehensive agrarian reform program,” or CARP.
Its short title is, “New Agrarian Emancipation Act.” It was endorsed by the committee on agrarian reform chaired by Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao and the committee on ways and means headed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda.
The bill is a consolidation of 15 related measures.
Under the proposed law, to be condoned or written off are “unpaid amortizations, interest payments, surcharges, and penalties of existing loans” of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) secured under CARP or other agrarian reform programs or laws.
The balances of unpaid obligations of ARBs to landowners shall be assumed by Land Bank.
The Department of Agrarian Reform shall issue a certificate of condonation to be annotated on the beneficiary’s emancipation patent (EP) or certificate of land ownership award (CLOA), which is the equivalent of a land title.
The condonation shall erase all mortgage liens on EPs and CLOAs in favor of the national government, as represented by Land Bank.
The bill defines the term “agrarian reform beneficiaries” as “farmers or farmworkers who were granted lands under Presidential Decree No. 27, Republic Act No. 6657 and Republic Act No. 9700, and who have outstanding loan balances payable to the Land Bank of the Philippines.”
PD 27 was the Tenant Emancipation Decree of the late President Marcos Sr. It was issued on Oct. 21, 1972.
RA 6657 was the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988, while RA 9700 was the legislation extending the acquisition and distribution of agricultural lands under CARP.
Bill No. 6336 provides that lands distributed to ARBs under the series of agrarian reform programs “shall not be sold, transferred, or conveyed except through hereditary succession, or to the government or to the Land Bank of the Philippines, or to other qualified beneficiaries through the DAR, for a period of 10 years from the issuance of the certificate of condonation or the CLOA.”
Such lands “shall not be subject to conversion or any form of mortgage and encumbrance for a period of 20 years from the issuance of the certificate of condonation or CLOA.”
Lands distributed to ARBs shall be exempt from estate tax. The exemption would apply only to transfers from the beneficiaries to their heirs.
The bill provides that the landowner is entitled to just compensation for the land acquired under CARP.
The DAR is mandated to issue implementing rules and regulations.
Other authors of the bill include House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, and Reps. Mujiv S. Hataman, Joey Sarte Salceda, Solomon R Chungalao, Angelo Marcos Barba, Ralph G. Recto, Marie Bernadette G. Escudero, Robert Raymund M. Estrella, Arnan C. Panaligan, Jaime R. Fresnedi, Wilbert T. Lee, Alfred C. Delos Santos, Arlene D. Brosas, France L. Castro, Raoul Danniel A. Manuel, Lordan G. Suan, Luis Raymund “Lray” F. Villafuerte, Jr., Richard I. Gomez, Gus S. Tambunting, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas, Linabelle Ruth R. Villarica, Emilio Bernardino L. Yulo, Joselito “Joel” S. Sacdalan, Arthur F. Celeste, Felimon M. Espares, Francisco Paolo P. Ortega V, Raul Angelo “Jil” D. Bongalon, Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang, Dante S. Garcia, Mikaela Angela B. Suansing, Ernesto M. Dionisio, Jr., Teodorico T. Haresco, Jr., Sonny “SL” L. Lagon, Nicanor M. Briones, Ray Florence T. Reyes, Janice Z. Salimbangon, Rodolfo “Ompong” M. Ordanes, Mark O. Go, Rosanna “Ria” V. Vergara, Sergio C. Dagooc, John Tracy F. Cagas, Ciriaco. B. Gato, Jr., Lorenz R. Defensor, Ching B. Bernos, Peter John D. Calderon, Ramon Rodrigo L. Gutierrez, Alfelito “Alfel” M. Bascug, Wilter Y. Palma, Leody “Odie” F. Tarriela, Midy N. Cua, Horacio P. Suansing, Jr., Rufus B. Rodriguez, Samuel S. Verzosa, Jr., Florencio Gabriel “Bem” G. Noel, Michael B. Gorriceta, Ambrosio C. Cruz, Jr., Ricardo T. Kho, Roy M. Loyola, Allan U. Ty, Ramon C. Nolasco, Jr., Eric Go Yap, Paolo Z. Duterte, Edvic G. Yap, Jeffrey Soriano, Mario Vittorio “Marvey” A. Mariño, James “Jojo” A. Ang, Jr., Francisco Jose “Bingo” F. Matugas II, Alfredo D. Marañon III, Sancho Fernando “Ando” F. Oaminal, Harris Christopher M. Ongchuan, Maria Carmen S. Zamora, Noel “Bong” N. Rivera, Shernee A. Tan-Tambut, Princess Rihan M. Sakaluran, Lani Mercado-Revilla, Juan Carlos “Arjo” C. Atayde, Carl Nicolas C. Cari, Emigdio P. Tanjuatco III, Samier A. Tan, Nelson L. Dayanghirang, David “Jay-jay” C. Suarez, Ramon Jolo B. Revilla III, Bai Dimple I. Mastura, Carmelo “Jon” B. Lazatin II, Loreto S. Amante, Divina Grace C. Yu, Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo, Maria Fe R. Abunda, Michael M. Morden, Salvador A. Pleyto, Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, Charisse Anne C. Hernandez, Bryan B. Revilla, and Edsel A. Galeos.