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Surigao del Norte targets P600-M tax collection on mining by next year

While military claimed New People’s Army was planning to increase revolutionary tax collection in mining by 2011, Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Folcadilla Matugas claimed she too wanted to intensify tax collection on mining from P150-M this year to P600-M by next year 2011.

In a chance interview by local newsmen including this writer during Christmas party for Provincial Capitol employees held at newly refurbished Surigao del Norte Provincial Gymnasium Friday evening December 17, the lady governor said she intended to intensify tax collection to fund her pet projects mostly poverty alleviating projects next year.

“So far all mining firms operating at present in the province are good taxpayers and responsible miners too so I think there will be no problem if we will impose our intensified drive for tax collection on mining firms doing profitable business in Surigao del Norte”, Matugas told reporters here.

Matugas said that one way to increase tax collection on mining is to install more monitoring mechanisms of all outgoing shipments of ores made by the mining firm operating within in Surigao del Norte.

She claimed she will look into reports that other mineral by-products like only gold production were reported or listed but not other mineral ores like copper, nickel to avoid taxation for same shipment thus losing millions of pesos revenues due alleged cheating.

Matugas added that to attain the P600-M target by next year, she will also intensify monitoring of activities in all approved small-scale mining activities in the province.

Approval of small-scale mining permits usually coursed through the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) by which in most cases the Provincial Governor is the PMRB chair.

While large-scale mining permits like the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) are to be approve by central offices of the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences (MGB), DENR and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) all found in Manila.

Based on the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences official records that as of June 2010, Surigao del Norte province has 17 approved MPSA, the second highest approved MPSA next to Dinagat Islands which had 19 approved MPSA.

Although the Supreme Court has already issued resolutions declaring Dinagat island not a province and therefore must be return back to its mother province, Surigao del Norte, the COMELEC has not yet set date for re-election for the position of First District Congressman, Governor, Vice Governor and First District Provincial Board Members.

In the whole of Caraga Region, there are 49 approved MPSA, the biggest in the whole country, with 15 approved Exploration Permits for the five provinces.

Among big mining firms presently operating in Surigao del Norte were; Taganito Mining Corporation with approved MPSAs covering 4,862 hectares and another approved Exploration Permit owned by the Zamoras; Philex Gold Philippines Inc. owned by SMART’s Manny V. Pangilinan which has 2,879.7 hectares for gold mining; Pacific Cement Inc. which has two approved MPSA; Hinatuan Mining Corp. again owned by the Zamora family; Pacific Nickel Philippines which approved 25,000 hectares of MPSA; Chinese owned Shenzhou Mining Corp and others. (PNA/Ben Serrano)

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