SONA 2022 Promise Tracker


President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s first year as Agriculture secretary has been mired in controversies of illegal sugar imports, shortages and rising prices of agricultural products.

Despite these, the president has been persistent in helming the Agriculture department, explaining that he is in a better position to quickly carry out reforms since people in the sector “cannot say no” to the chief executive.

But how exactly did he fare in his goals and plans for the agriculture sector?

Since the campaign in the 2022 presidential elections, Marcos had already expressed plans to attain food security and stabilize the prices of agricultural commodities. These aspirations were echoed in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2022 when he laid out six promises to strengthen the local agricultural industry.

Of the six promises, three were fulfilled. The Marcos administration succeeded in providing loans to the agriculture sector for farm inputs, imposing a one-year moratorium on payment of land amortization and interest and the signing into law of the new Agrarian Emancipation Act.

Another promise shows progress with the launching of the National Farm-to-Market Roads Network Plan 2023-2028 by the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering (BAFE) under the Department of Agriculture (DA).

While the president is on track on his promises to help farmers, Marcos fell short in achieving his goal of bringing down food prices.

Despite the establishment of Kadiwa ng Pasko to control rising prices amid the holiday season and its subsequent rebranding into “Kadiwa ng Pangulo,” Filipinos suffered from a rise in the retail prices of onion in the last week of December 2022. Although rice is sold at P25 per kilo in Kadiwa centers, the staple still ranges from P36-50 per kilo in public markets in Metro Manila as of writing.

The administration is yet to pass one of Marcos’ priority bills — the National Land Use Act. It has been stalled in Congress, with five Senate bills still pending at the committee level.

VERA Files Fact Check looked into how Marcos fared in his promises related to agriculture:

Provide loans to the agriculture sector for farm inputs

Magbibigay tayo ng pautang, habang mas ilalapit natin sa sektor ng agrikultura ang hindi gaanong mahal na farm inputs na bibilhin na ng bulto ng gobyerno.

Kabilang dito ang abono, pestisidyo, mga punla, feeds, fuel subsidy at ayuda para sa mga karapat-dapat na benepisyaryo.

(SONA 2022)
  • Under the Marcos administration, the agricultural credit and financing programs of the Department of Agriculture (DA) continued. Data from the DA’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council shows that from July 2022 to May 2023, disbursements already amounted to over P4 billion and about 59,610 farmers, fisherfolks and micro and small enterprises benefited from these loan programs.
  • In November 2022, following Marcos’ directive, DA distributed additional fertilizer assistance to rice farmers nationwide. In March 2023, the agency rolled out a special loan program for onion farmers.
  • Last June 16, Marcos led the turnover of 20,000 metric tons of urea fertilizer he secured from China in January through a cooperation agreement with the Philippine International Trading Corporation.
Create a national network of farm-to-market roads (FMRs)

Gagawa tayo ng national network ng farm-to-market roads upang mas mabilis na mailakbay ng mga magsasaka ang kanilang mga produkto sa mga pamilihan.

(SONA 2022)
  • On Feb. 27, DA-BAFE Director Ariodear Rico announced that Marcos approved a joint administrative order which consolidates and integrates the efforts of selected government agencies to formulate and implement a national network of FMRs.
  • On June 21, the National Farm-to-Market Roads Network Plan 2023-2028 was launched by DA-BAFE. This plan ensures a unified information system on the mapping and inventory of road networks, market facilities, and agricultural and fisheries key production areas as well as strengthens collaboration between national government agencies and local government units in this endeavor.
Find ways, such as reviving Kadiwa Centers, to bring down food prices

At gagawa tayo ng mga paraan upang maramdaman ng mga mamimili ang pagluluwag ng presyo ng mga produktong pagkain sa kayang halaga, gaya ng muling pagbubuhay ng mga Kadiwa Centers.

(SONA 2022)
  • On Nov. 16, 2022, the DA launched the Kadiwa ng Pasko caravan  to control the high cost of agricultural commodities during the holiday season. This was later rebranded as “Kadiwa ng Pangulo” with its first pop-up store launched in Cebu.
  • While Kadiwa stores sold relatively cheaper goods, with rice at P25 per kilo, consumers still suffered from high inflation rate in the first quarter of the year. Philippine Statistics Authority reported that in January, inflation in the country accelerated to a new 14-year high of 8.7% due to rising utility, housing and food costs.
  • Retail prices of onion skyrocketed in the last week of December 2022 and while rice is sold at P25 per kilo in Kadiwa Centers, the staple still ranges from P36-50 per kilo in Metro Manila public markets.
Issue executive order for one-year moratorium on payment of land amortization and interest payments

Ang agrarian reform program ay dapat magpatuloy. Agrarian reform is not only about acquisition, but also about support services and distribution. To assist this, I intend to issue an executive order to impose a one-year moratorium on the payment of land amortization and interest payments. This is included in Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

(SONA 2022)
  • On Sept. 14, 2022, Marcos signed Executive Order (EO) No. 4 imposing a one-year moratorium on land amortization and interest payments of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) for agricultural lands distributed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
  • On Sept. 29, 2022, Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III and Land Bank of the Philippines President and CEO Cecilia Borromeo signed a joint administrative order providing the implementing rules and regulations for EO 4. Estrella said that over half a million ARBs are expected to benefit from the one-year moratorium.
Amend Section 26 of RA 6657 to condone P58.12 billion debts, including loan amortization and interest payments, of 654,000 ARBs

Congress must also pass a law that will emancipate the agrarian reform beneficiaries from the agrarian reform debt burden, thereby amending Section 26 of Republic Act 6657. In this law, the Loans of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries with unpaid amortization and interest shall be condoned.

(SONA 2022)
  • On March 22, Congress ratified the bicameral report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill No. 1850 and House Bill No. 6336, otherwise known as the new Agrarian Emancipation Act.
  • On July 7, Marcos signed the bill into law which condones at least P58 billion in unpaid debts incurred by over 600,000 farmer-beneficiaries of the government’s agrarian reform program. This includes all unpaid amortizations, interests, penalties and surcharges of awarded lands.
Pass National Land Use Act

As I am here today addressing the legislature, allow me now to propose legislation that we would like you to pass in support of these programs… National Land Use Act. This will provide for a rational and holistic management and development of our country’s land and water resources; hold owners accountable for making these lands productive and sustainable; strengthen the LGU to manage ecological balance within its jurisdiction. It also provides for Land Use and Physical Planning/Framework as a mechanism in determining policies and principles to implement this legislative measure.

(SONA 2022)
  • On May 22, the House of Representatives approved on the third and final reading the institutionalization of a national land use policy.
  • In the Senate, five national land use bills  are pending at the committee level.
  • On Feb. 3, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said he is seeking the support of Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the agriculture committee, to pass a National Land Use Act. However, Villar expressed her disagreement on this policy in a heated argument with Sen. Raffy Tulfo last year during a plenary discussion on the DA’s proposed budget for 2023.

Find out how Marcos Jr. fared in other sectors

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Presidential Communications Office, PBBM says he can quickly effect change, needed reforms if he stays as DA chief, Jan. 23, 2023

On providing loans for farm inputs

On creating national network of farm-to-market roads

On finding ways to bring down food prices

On imposing one-year moratorium on payment of land amortization and interest

On passing New Agrarian Emancipation Act

On passing the National Land Use Act

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)