Itogon, Tuba can’t collect tax from Philex
By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
TUBA, Benguet — The municipalities of Tuba and Itogon here in Benguet will not be able to collect business tax from Philex Mining Corporation (PMC) just yet.
In a press conference, Philex Vice President and PMC Padcal Site Resident Manager Libby Ricafort said the company now holds their business tax payments in an escrow account. He, however, explained that the local governments of Itogon and Tuba has to settle their boundary dispute before the said funds are released. He added the company opened the account sometime last year.
Ricafort added that at present, the account holds P29 million which covers the local business tax of the company for 2011.
The head of Philex’s legal division, Atty. Eduardo M. Aratas explained that the national taxation law requires them to pay 30% exporters tax and the 70% is reserved for the local business tax. He added that the local business tax is paid to the municipality that hosts their actual operations.
Earlier the two municipalities agreed a 50-50 share even without the resolution of the boundary dispute.
Beverly Longid of Katribu Indigenous Peoples Partylist stressed that regardless of the boundary dispute the communities hosting the mining operations of Philex should at least benefit from the meager share the law granted them from the billions that the company makes out of their resources.
She explained that the tax being collected by Itogon and Tuba is just a fraction of the earnings of Philex from the gold and other minerals being extracted from indigenous communities.
“Local officials should make sure that the host communities get what is due them as provided by law and ensure that these funds are properly spent to serve and benefit the people,” she stressed.
Longid added that the mining company should show proof that the escrow account exists. # nordis.net