By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon Thursday said poor farmers now have access to more capital to increase their productivity.
This came after President Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11231, or the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act.
“I am very grateful to President Duterte for signing the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act into law. This is a poverty alleviation measure that will enable the beneficiaries to have access to credit and go into business and pass property to their heirs,” he said.
Gordon, author and sponsor of Senate Bill 101, or the Agricultural Free Patent Reform Act, explained that agricultural free patents are land grants to Filipino farmers who are in possession or cultivation of such land and have paid taxes thereon for at least 30 years under Commonwealth Act No. 141, as amended, or the Public Land Act.
In the last 25 years, an estimated 2,000,000 agricultural free patents have been issued to farmer entrepreneurs.
However, the senator noted that they are restricted from mortgaging or selling their land within five years from the issuance of the patent.
Another restriction on agricultural free patents is that upon conveyance, the original owner is allowed to repurchase the land within five years.
“Due to the restrictions on agricultural free patents under the Public Land Act, these agricultural land titles become non-tradeable and non-bankable. Hence, we removed such restrictions to make the agricultural land titles immediately tradeable and bankable and provide farmer entrepreneurs, much-needed access to credit to make investments, create jobs, increase productivity, and reduce poverty in the rural areas,” Gordon said.