Local government units (LGUs) should be given directly their share of mining taxes.
This was the position aired by vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. as he reiterated his support to the clamor of LGUs for direct remittance of their share in the taxes for exploration and utilization of mineral resources in their localities.
“We have been pushing for that for a long time but the national government steadfastly opposed this move,” said Marcos.
Marcos noted that according to the current practice, the share of LGU in national wealth taxes has to be remitted first to the national government and will remain in government coffers for three years before it is finally given to the concerned LGU.
“We have conducted a hearing on this and mining companies agree to our position that they should directly remit to the LGU their share of the taxes instead of having to remit it first to the national government. I believe that this is what should be done,” Marcos said.
Despite this, Marcos said the national government continues to oppose such proposal.
“Everybody agrees, except the Palace,” said Marcos.
Marcos has filed Senate Bill No. 133 mandating automatic appropriation and release to the concerned local government unit (LGU) of their 40 percent share in national wealth taxes as part of his advocacy to promote the welfare of LGUs in the country.
Marcos also called for close monitoring of practices of mining companies, particularly their compliance to regulations safeguarding the environment.
Reports earlier said that according to estimate of experts the Philippines has the fifth richest mineral in the world. On a per hectare bases, the country ranks 3rd in gold, 4th in copper, 5th in nickel and 6th in chromite.
With such mineral wealth mining can become a key driver to economic growth of the country, according to economists. Marcos agrees but stressed that mining practices should be tempered with proper regulation and close monitoring.
“If mining companies do not comply with environmentally-friendly mining practices, they can cause massive damage to the environment and destroy the source of livelihood of many of our citizens,” Marcos warned.
The senator pointed out that there are existing technologies that mining companies can be required to adopt to prevent disasters that could not only damage the environment but also pose danger to the lives of the residents in mining areas.
“But it is important that the government is always there, closely monitoring the operation of mining companies to ensure they are not cutting corners and that all the environmental safeguards provided for in the laws are faithfully complied with,” Marcos stressed.