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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.

For the first time in 32 years of efforts to forge peace between the government and the Communist movement, formal negotiations will be held on April 20 on Philippine soil.

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An estimated 220,000 farmers will likely benefit from the ongoing negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front, allowing them to lay claim to over 650,000 hectares of both private and public land, which will form part of the two parties’ ongoing peace negotiations under the socio-economic agenda.

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Before going on a six-week recess starting today, the bicameral Commission on Appointments confirmed yesterday the appointments of Leonor Briones as Department of Education Secretary and 44 generals and senior officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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A 2006 Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) study, all of 270 pages, funded by the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ in German) entitled “The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program: Scenarios and Options of Future Development” conclude the following: 1) Philippine agriculture is in a “state of distress”; 2) Despite 18 years of CARP and 14 years of ‘Operation Land Transfer’ (PD 27), agrarian reform has failed to produce a significant dent on the country’s rural poverty levels; 3) Despite having spent over P200 billion for CARP, the financing is still inadequate; 4) Implementation has been beset by misplaced priorities and misallocation of scarce resources; 5) The collection record of CAP amortization payments has been a dismal 18%; 6) Globalization has had a negative effect on agriculture:

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AMONG the changes the nation is looking forward to as the Duterte administration begins its term is an end to the decades-long rebellion of the New People’s Army (NPA). The outgoing Aquino administration sought to end the Moro conflict in Mindanao with peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but made no effort to reach out to the NPA. Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte has now made peace with the NPA part of his program of action.

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