SOME 40,000 beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) in Negros Oriental are qualified to avail themselves of the condonation program of the government.
Manuel Galon Jr., Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer 1 of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Negros Oriental, on Tuesday told the Philippine News Agency that the program would cover the farmers’ principal loans, unpaid amortizations and interests.
“These beneficiaries who were awarded agricultural lands under the Carp fall under the compensable category, such that they can apply for the condonation, so they can be debt-free,” Galon said.
An estimated 120,000 individuals were awarded Certificates of Land Ownership Awards since the program’s inception in the late 1970s by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
Based on DAR records, Galon said about 40,000 of the total ARBs have already paid their dues in full, while the other 40,000 fall under the non-compensable category, disqualifying them for condonation.
He urged the qualified beneficiaries to go to condonation centers and apply for the program.
Signed into law on July 9, 2023, Republic Act (RA) 11953 or the New Agrarian Reform Emancipation Act, condones all loans, including interests, penalties and surcharges incurred by ARBs from land awarded to them.
The condonation covers an estimated 1.173 million hectares of land that will benefit around 610,054 ARBs who incurred an estimated PHP57.55 billion in unpaid amortizations.
RA 11953 also terminates the payment of PHP206.247 million in unpaid just compensation to the landowners by 10,201 ARBs tilling 11,531 hectares of land acquired through the voluntary land transfer or the direct payment scheme.
Additional benefits for ARBs include exemption from payment of estate tax and mandatory inclusion in the Registry System of Basic Sectors in Agriculture to give them easy access to support services of the Department of Agriculture. (PNA)