Bill condoning debts of land reform beneficiaries up for Marcos’ signature
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed New Agrarian Emancipation Act — which would condone the debts of 610,054 agrarian reform beneficiaries totaling P57.55 billion — only needs President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s signature to become a law.
The House of Representatives and the Senate separately ratified the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on House Bill No. 6336 and Senate Bill No. 1850 — their versions of the proposed law — in Wednesday’s session, the last session day before the 19th Congress adjourns for the Holy Week break.
Under the consolidated version, once the bill is signed into law and implemented, the individual loans of beneficiaries— including penalties and surcharges accumulated under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) — will be forgiven and written off.
A bicameral conference was needed to mend disagreeing provisions of HB No. 6336 and SB No. 1850. In the joint statement, the lawmakers gave the following explanations:
• Members of the bicameral panel agreed to use the Senate version as a working draft.
• The Short Title of the House bill was adopted as Section 1 of the consolidated version.
• The phrase “indebted to the government as of December 31, 2022” in Sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Senate version has been replaced with the phrase “indebted to the government as of the effectivity of this Act.”
• The list of beneficiaries to be submitted by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Agrarian Reform will be based on the collective Certificates of Land Ownership Award, which will be processed within three years on effectivity of the law.
• The title of the House version was adopted with modification through the addition of the phrase “all principal loans.”
The joint statement was signed by Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao, the chair of the House Committee on Agrarian Reform, and Sen. Cynthia Villar, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform.