COTABATO CITY—BARMM’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR) expressed its full support for the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11953 or the New Agrarian Emancipation Act (NAEA), following the launching of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on Sept. 12.
MAFAR Agrarian Services Director-General Dr. Taugan Kikay said this law will be beneficial to the Bangsamoro farmers, especially those who cannot sustain paying their amortizations and debts due to the effects brought about by the pandemic, climate change, and high agri-inputs that have diminished their agri-harvest.
“This act gives them hope to alleviate their economic sustainability through the provision of support services, credit financing, and rural infrastructure,” Kikay said.
The IRR was presented to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. after the two-year extension of Executive Order (EO) No. 4, s. 2023 was signed.
EO No. 4 provides for a one-year moratorium on the payment of the principal obligations and interest on amortization payable by the agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), including those whom the NAEA did not cover.
Accordingly, the Bangsamoro Government welcomes this development for the 65,713 ARBs in the region.
“As the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in the Philippines gives Social Justice among the landless and poor farmers, this ministry, through the agrarian reform services, is committed to implementing the new law and other laws in coordination with the Department of Agrarian Reform Central Office,” Kikay shared.
“The ministry also hopes that incoming new agrarian reform beneficiaries who are yet to receive their CLOAs be given equal opportunities in the future,” he further stressed.
Meanwhile, President Marcos considered the new act as the “best ever gift he received.”
He signed the said law on July 7 which frees more than 600,000 Filipino farmers nationwide from agrarian arrears.
“At ako’y nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat, sa lahat ng kasama natin upang mabuo natin ang IRR ng New Emancipation Law. On a personal note, nagpapasalamat ako – ito na yata ang pinakamagandang birthday gift na natanggap ko sa buong buhay ko,” said the President.
President Marcos, who also heads the country’s Department of Agriculture, reiterated his commitment to improve and modernize the agriculture sector.
“Maging maayos na ang agrikultura at malaman na natin kung ano ba talaga ang weather. Wet season ba o dry season? Para naman matulungan natin ‘yung mga farmer natin. Iyon lamang naman ang aking panalangin pa rin hanggang ngayon,” he said.
The President urged the DAR, along with other concerned agencies, to strive for a smooth and immediate execution of the IRR to free the beneficiaries from the burden of debts and reap the benefits from the lands that they cultivate.
“Continue to facilitate the delivery of support services to all ARBs and make them your foremost priority in all our development efforts,” President Marcos said.
“I call upon the beneficiaries to utilize your lands not only to cater to your families but also for the rest of the nation,” he added. (Kasan Usop, Jr./BIO with reports from PCO)