South Cotabato eyes P30-M mining revenue for 2012

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/20 January) –The provincial government of South Cotabato is expecting to generate P30 million this year from the small-scale mining industry players in the area, officials said.

Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr. said they are confident of reaching the target as the provincial government has been “enforcing its political will” to flush out illegal small-scale mining activities.

In a statement, he noted that because of the intensified drive against illegal mining activities, the province’s collection from the industry rose to P9.2 million last year from P6.6 million in 2010.

Of the industry revenues last year, P3.5 million came from mining fees and P5.8 million from quarry fees, the Provincial Information Office reported.

Last year, Pingoy ordered a crackdown on small-scale tunnel miners and gold processors in T’boli town operating without permits, which he noted had denied the provincial government the rightful income from these sectors.

The crackdown was pursuant to provincial Ordinance No. 7, Series of 2003, known as “An ordinance levying taxes, fees, charges and other impositions on small-scale mining, mineral processing operations, and transporting of mineral ores within the province of South Cotabato and providing the rules and regulations thereof.”

Late last year, Pingoy estimated the illegal small-scale miners operating in T’boli town to reach 300 and 200 for the ball mill or gold processors.

In October, the provincial government shut down 300 gold tunnels in the gold-rich municipality for lack of permits.

Several others were later on allowed to resume operation after getting clearances from the provincial government.

This after they have been given notices to comply with the requirements.

For his part, Siegfred Flaviano, chief of the Provincial Environment Management Office, said the campaign against illegal mining and ball mill operators will be the key to reach the P30-million revenue target for the mining industry this year.

Flaviano said they have also set up checkpoints to monitor illegal quarrying activities in the province.

In T’boli town, the PEMO recently set up closed-circuit television cameras to help in the fight against illegal mining activities there.

Pingoy said the projected rise in revenues from the small-scale mining industry players would be a big help to the provincial government.

This is due to the expected P20 million Internal Revenue Allotment cut this year due to the conversion of 16 more municipalities into cities. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)