THE HOUSE of Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading a bill seeking to restructure and allow condonation of unpaid interests, penalties, and surcharges on loans of farmers, fisherfolk, and agrarian reform beneficiaries.  

At Tuesdays plenary session, the lower chamber unanimously approved the measure with 271 votes.  

The condonation program will cover agricultural and agrarian reform loans secured through the Department of Agrarian Reforms (DAR) existing and terminated credit programs. 

It also covers agricultural credit secured through the Peoples Credit and Finance Corporation (PCFC)s Microfinance Program for Small Farmers and Fisherfolk and the Household. 

Other beneficiaries of the proposed law include borrowers under the Cooperative Development Loan Fund of the Cooperative Development Authority; the Farmers Level Grain Center of the National Food Authority; the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Barangay Marketing Center; and all agri-credit guarantee programs of the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation (QUEDANCOR).  

Under the measures, the basis of the condonation will be limited to cases involving market aberration and will not be applied to cases involving the willful default of the borrower to pay their loans.   

Further, the accumulated payments of not less than 5% of loan principal shall have been paid at the time of the application for condonation.  

The bill also states that the period of payment of the restructured loan will depend on the financial capacity of the applicant. Beatriz Marie D. Cruz