DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A militant lawmaker on Monday urged the free distribution of land by writing off amortization dues from the agrarian reform beneficiaries.
“Amortization collected from ARBs are considered revenues of the national treasury, in this light, we urge the government, especially President Duterte to write off this dues, so as to realize a ‘de-facto’ free land distribution to benefit ARBs,” Ariel Casilao said in a statement.
According to Casilao, initial data from the DAR stated that as of Dec. 31, this year, the amount to be paid by 912,766 farmer-beneficiaries for 1.558 million hectares reached P59.91 billion, while among them booked as agrarian reform receivables reached to P17.15 billion for 480,508 farmer-beneficiaries on the 737,332 hectares of land.
He pointed out that P42.75 billion for 821,101 hectares of land, involving 432,258 farmer-beneficiaries has not yet been booked as ARR.
Among the ARR principal balance, P3.6 billion was considered as past due, with P311.1 million currently due, followed by not yet due of P8.8 billion. Therefore, totalling to P12.8 billion, Casilao said.
Casilao said that if this will be realized under the Duterte administration, “this would be a historical legacy for the President and DAR under the leadership of Ka Paeng Mariano.”
“Therefore, the Duterte administration could effortlessly and decisively condone the P3.6 billion overdue and current due receivables, while it is possible to entirely write off the total P12.8 billion, due after the president’s term, to mark it as a legacy in benefit of the poor farmers,” the militant lawmaker said.
During the budget hearing, Casilao also urged for the inclusion of the budget for land inventory to establish on whether ARBs are still on the lands awarded to them through Presidential Decree No. 27 and CARP.
Casilao also said the Duterte administration should act straightaway on its legislative agenda, as stated on its Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, which is the “Genuine and Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program” in order to “distribute for free or without amortization agricultural lands to landless farmers and agricultural workers.”
“We believe that in Congress, there is only one legislative proposal pushing for free land distribution to farmers across the country and that is House Bill No. 555 Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, by Anakpawis and the Makabayan Coalition, in this goal, we challenge the President for its support and enactment, for the benefit of the farmers and for rural development in the country,” Casilao said. (davaotoday.com)