Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Salceda proposes 10% hike in excise tax for mining industry

LEGAZPI CITY, July 28 -- Albay Second District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda is pushing for a 10-percent increase of excise tax from 2 percent for mining to generate bigger taxes from the industry.

Salceda in a phone interview, on Friday, said that the proposed 10 percent increase on excise tax for mining industry will give higher earnings to the government’s coffer and benefit the public once supported by the two chambers of Congress and approved by the President.

“We need to increase the current 2 percent tax on mining as this is too scanty and contributes only meager amount to our GDP. If we raise it to 10 percent excise tax it will propel better contribution to our economy and it will help the host local government unit and definitely it will trickle to the public,” Salceda said.

He said that under the 2 percent mining taxes, the mining host local government units (LGUs) have been receiving 40 percent share but under his proposed bill, LGUs will receive at least a 50-percent share from mining income.

The Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Bicol said during the Economic and Financial Learning Sessions 3.0 here that mining and quarrying industry in the country contributed at least 8.5 percent in 2014 to 2015 to the GDP and 9.0 percent in 2015 to 2016.

In Bicol, the mining contribution to the GDP is only 1 percent.

Salceda, former economic adviser of then President now Pampanga solon Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, strongly supported the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to raise the mine taxes to compensate for the destruction and suffering from the impact of mining.

President Rodrigo Duterte called on the investors and commercial barons during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) to put up factories and manufacturing establishments in Philippines to process the country’s raw materials into finished products here.

Duterte wants to put an end to the extraction and exportation of the country's mineral resources to foreign countries for processing abroad and importing them back to the country in the form of consumer goods at prices twice or thrice the value of the original raw materials.

The President said that extraction and utilization of mineral resources must be exercised with prudence; responsible and regulated.

“The protection of the environment must be made a priority ahead of mining and all other activities that adversely affect one way or another. And this policy is non-negotiable,” the President said in his second SONA.

Duterte warned all mining operations and contractors to refrain from the unbridled and irresponsible destruction of the country’s watersheds, forests, and aquatic resources, saying investors have gained so much from mining, but the government gets only 70 billion a year.

The President said that mining firms have neglected their responsibility to protect and preserve the environment and even the environment tax of about five percent.

Duterte wants the mining companies accountable and responsible for total restoration; rehabilitate all areas damaged by mining activities; support the communities that have suffered mining’s disastrous impact specifically on health, livelihood, and environment.

Salceda said the two percent mining tax is very meager and not trickling down the public despite the fact that the country is the 5th most mineralized in the world, added.

The Philippines is the world’s second biggest producer of nickel, next to Indonesia. The country is also second in the world in gold and third in copper resources.

Overall, the Philippines ranked fifth in the world for overall mineral reserves. (Rhaydz Barcia/PNA)