Surigao Norte LGU refuses to issue biz permit to mining firm for failure to pay taxes

CLAVER, Surigao del Norte (MindaNews / 16 June) – Until today the municipal government of Claver in Surigao del Norte has not issued a business permit to a mining firm because the company failed to settle its business tax.

Claver Mayor Eddie P. Gokiangkee said the Taganito Mining Corporation has an outstanding balance of almost half a billion pesos.

Based on the document obtained by MindaNews June last year, the company already had an outstanding balance tax of P371.2 million.

Gokiangkee said the taxes due since 2001 have now ballooned to more than P400 million.

In a letter addressed to Engr. Jose B. Anievas, vice president for operation of TMC, the municipal government asked the mining firm to pay their taxes “the soonest time possible to avoid any inconvenience that may occur as a result of distraint or seizure of your property.”

The mayor said they are now contemplating to file charges against TMC to force it to stop operations.

The local government is bent on collecting taxes from all business establishments in Claver, saying it is the lifeblood of the local government.

MindaNews has been seeking TMC management’s comment on the since last year but no to avail. TMC community relations officer Cecile Bayas told MindaNews last week that she will arrange an appointment with management but has no updates as of press time.

Gokiangkee said he admired the small businessmen in town for paying their taxes and expressed dismay over TMC even as the mining firm continue to destroy the mountains and polluting the water bodies.

“Even the small stores pay their taxes, yet this mining firm that has destroyed the environment refused to pay,” he lamented.

TMC is currently mining nickel ore for shipment to Japan.

Earlier this year, the Platinum Group Metals Corporation (PGMC) also failed to get its business permit in Claver, Gokiangkee said. The company has an outstanding balance of P57 million, but PGMC initially paid P7 million last March and promised to pay the rest of its unpaid business tax later this year.