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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Eastern Samar wants miners to remit P100 million in taxes

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The provincial government of Eastern Samar expressed optimism that mining companies operating in the province remit part of the P100 million taxes they owed by early 2024.

Eastern Samar provincial legal officer Eden Ivy Rose Balagasay said the efforts of the provincial government to get its rightful share of taxes prompted the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to begin collecting data from years back, so the government could determine exactly how much excise taxes the miners had paid, and how much the province should get as its share from mining revenues.

“To be safe, we can say that based on the production reports and data submitted to us by MGB [Mines and Geosciences Burea], we are expecting our share to be more than P100 million,” she said.

Under Joint Circular 2009-1, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) should release the LGUs’ mining tax share based on the joint certification issued by the BIR and the  Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) on mining tax collections and the schedule of the corresponding shares of the beneficiary-LGUs.

Eastern Samar governor Ben Evardone sent letters to the Department of Finance (DOF) and the DBM, requesting for the release of the province’s excise tax share.

The Eastern Samar government asked the mining companies operating in the province to fully implement environmental and  social protection measures, as contained in their Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs), or risk the possible cancellation of these permits issued by the DENR.

Evardone gave the miners a final chance to implement fully the key provisions of their MPSAs on environmental and social protection in their concessions and on the welfare of their workers and the socio-economic development and health programs for the residents of their host-communities.

“Their complete performance and compliance reports are now under review by the provincial government, and the comprehensive assessment of these firms’ compliance with the key provisions of their MPSAs as well as of the other pertinent laws and provincial ordinances on environmental and social protection will be the basis for whether the governor would keep the status quo or submit a position paper to the DENR seeking the cancellation of their concession agreements on mining,” Balagasay said.

The miners were also told to pay their unpaid real property taxes (RPTs) due the province and their host-municipality of Guiuan.

The provincial government said six miners had combined RPT arrears of P133.86 million based on the aggregate volumes listed in their chromite and nickel  ore stocks transport permits (OTPs) issued by the MGB, an agency of the Environment Department.

Balagasay said that Evardone also wanted to find out whether the miners had been complying fully with labor laws for the benefit and protection of their workers in their mine sites, including their memberships in, and contributions to, the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund).

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