MANILA—A House of Representatives’ panel has unanimously approved a bill seeking to condone the unpaid loan interests secured by farmers, fisherfolk, and agrarian reform beneficiaries.
According to a statement on Friday, the House committee on agrarian reform approved House Bill No. 187, or the “Agrarian and Agricultural Loan Restructuring and Condonation Act”, which is one of the legislative priorities of the 17th Congress.
The committee’s senior vice chairman, Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano, aims to facilitate the reintegration of the financial and bank standing of the beneficiaries and give them access to new and additional government credit programs.
HB 187, authored by COOP-NATCCO Party-list Reps. Anthony Bravo and Sabiniano Canama, seeks to promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform by freeing farmers, fisherfolk, and agrarian reform beneficiaries from the “bondage of debt and poverty.”
The bill sets the following conditions before granting the proposed condonation:
(1) it is limited to force majeure, or to market aberration and shall, in no case, be applied for the willful default of the borrower to pay such loans;
(2) the accumulated payments of not less than 5 percent of the loan principal shall have been paid at the time of application for condonation;
(3) a graduation process shall be followed in consonance with the plan of payment such that a borrower shall be granted a one-time condonation only; and
(4) the condonation of unpaid interests, penalties and surcharges from loans acquired through conduit banks and financial institutions and the agencies mentioned above shall be in conformity with the applicable general banking laws and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
The bill seeks to provide leniency on unsettled interests, penalties, and surcharges on loans availed of by farmers, fishermen, and agrarian reform beneficiaries from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), People’s Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), National Food Authority (NFA), and the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (QUEDANCOR).