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House OKs bill condoning farmers, fishers loans

February 2, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 381 views

To boost agri sector’s production

THE House of Representatives recently approved on the third and final reading Negros Oriental 3rd District Representative Arnie Teves’ proposed measure of 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.

House Bill (HB) No. 2877, also known as the Agrarian and Agricultural Loan Restructuring Act, intends 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 (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), People’s Credit and Finance Corp., Cooperative Dev’t. Authority, National Food Authority (NFA), and Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp.

Teves expressed 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.

He 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 increasing 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.

To achieve this, Teves added, the President also promised that the government would provide not only financial but also technical assistance to the agricultural sector.

“This measure will facilitate reintegration into the financial and banking system of the farmers, fisherfolk and agrarian reform beneficiaries and will give them access to new government credit programs,” Teves explained.

The lawmaker pointed out that the farmers, fishermen and ARBs, and their respective cooperatives or associations have been “burdened” for a long time due to ballooning interests, penalties, and surcharges to the loans they availed from government agencies.

“The President cares much about the farmers and the fisherfolk and promised to provide them loans and financial assistance to boost production and food security. However, some farmer’s cooperatives might not be able to avail such if they don’t have good credit standing, thus I am pushing for the immediate approval of this measure,” Teves also said.