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House panel OKs bill waiving unpaid loan interest of farmers

A bill seeking to condone unpaid interest on loans secured by farmers, fisher folk, and agrarian reform beneficiaries has been endorsed for enactment by the House Committee on Agrarian Reform.

In a recent meeting presided over by Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano, the agrarian reform panel unanimously approved House Bill No. 187 or the Agrarian and Agricultural Loan Restructuring and Condonation Act.
HB 187 proposes leniency in the repayment of government loans extended to the agriculture sector with the condonation of unsettled interests, penalties, and surcharges imposed on the borrowing.

Under the bill, government agencies tasked to condone credit interests imposed on agricultural loans are the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, People’s Credit and Finance Corp., Cooperative Development Authority, National Food Authority, and the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corp.

Savellano, an author of the bill, aired optimism that the House will act swiftly in approving the measure. He said the measure aims to facilitate the reintegration of the financial and bank standing of farmers, fisher folk, and agrarian reform beneficiaries and give them access to new and additional government credit programs.

Savellano said the bill is of major significance as it is one of the legislative priorities of the 17th Congress. A similar bill was passed on third reading by the House during the 16th Congress, he said. (Ben R. Rosario)

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