Arroyo to condone farmers’ loans: What’s that again?

Agrarian violence is prevalent. More and more landless farmers have risked their lives under hostile situations thanks to the big landowners going around law to retain control of their lands. CARP implementation has been excruciatingly slow. Support services for agrarian reform beneficiaries wanting as ever. Among others.

We’ve been waiting for the government’s direct and feasible solutions to these problems but we’re being thrown in a time warp or in another planet whatsoever.  We have yet to sound her out on her ‘agribusiness’ scheme, yet, here’s another news that says Malacanang is planning to condone by next year agrarian loans to farmers amounting to P42 billion (875 million USD), which it claims to be non-performing, that is, not being repaid promptly by the farmer debtors. Malacanang deems that the amount would be well used to “accelerate the trickle down and maximize the impact of growth on poverty reduction.”

Even the former Land Bank President Gary Teves was surprised at the Malacanang’s idea. Contrary to the palace’s claim, the Land Bank avers that the repayment rate of agrarian loans is 95-100 percent. “Farmers are good borrowers,” Finance Secretary Teves (who used to head Land Bank for five years) said. So where has Malacanang gotten the loan figures?

Perhaps some quarters see this move by Malacanang as beneficial to farmers but I have this fearless inkling that Arroyo has just started to try to endear herself to the voting rural folks (even though the loan condonation was supposed to take place to be next year).

Ah, it’s time to have a closer look at the “agrarian loans” stuff. Let’s see where that will lead me.

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