Malacañang issued Executive Order (EO) No. 40 on Wednesday, extending the moratorium on the payment of the principal obligation and interest of the amortization due and payable by agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed EO 40 on Tuesday, which he announced during the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) presentation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 11953, or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act.

“The moratorium on the payment of the principal value and annual interest of the amortization due and/or payable by ARBs under EO No. 4 shall be extended for a period of two years,” the EO read.

“This Order hereby amends or modifies relevant provisions of EO No. 4. All other issuances, orders, rules and regulations, or parts thereof that are inconsistent with this Order, are hereby repealed of modified accordingly.”

The order tasked the DAR and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to jointly formulate the IRR for the implementation of the order 15 days from its effectivity, in accordance with existing general banking laws, the rules and regulations of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, EO No. 228, RA No. 6657, as amended, RA No. 11953 and other relevant laws and issuances.

EO No. 4 imposed a one-year moratorium on the payment of the principal obligation and interest of the amortization due and payable by ARBs under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and other agrarian reform programs or laws.

Under RA No. 11953, individual ARB loans, including interests, penalties and surcharges, were condoned and written off, and ARBs were exempted from the payment of state tax on agrarian reform lands secured under the CARP or other agrarian programs, which were due and payable by covered ARBs as of the law’s effectivity on July 24, 2023.

According to Section 2 of RA No. 11953, there are 346,432 of the total 610,054 ARBs tilling 763,894.66 hectares of agrarian reforms lands, whose names and other loan details of indebtedness to the government have yet to the be submitted to Congress by the LBP and DAR.

DAR said that apart from those whose names and other loan details have yet to be submitted to Congress pursuant to RA No. 11953, there are new ARBs who may not be able to avail of the relief provided under the said law because they were not covered by the cut-off date when the law took effect on July 24.

“In furtherance of the objective of RA No. 11953 of emancipating the ARBs from financial burden, it is imperative to extend the period of the moratorium under EO No. 4 to ensure that sustained economic relief will benefit both ARBs to be covered by RA No. 11953 and those excluded therefrom, and afford them protection from the ill effects of the current state of our global economy,” the President said in issuing the order.  |PND

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