South Cotabato steps up revenue collection for mining, quarry operations

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/07 November) — The provincial government of South Cotabato has intensified its tax education and collection efforts among mining and quarry operators in a bid to reach its revenue target of P12 million this year.

Siegfred Flaviano, South Cotabato Provincial Environment Management Office (PEMO) chief, said Friday they have dispatched additional personnel to monitor and ensure the proper collection of the tax dues of local mining and quarry operators.

In the first three quarters of the year, he said their office already collected a total of P8.28 million in mining and quarry taxes.

In September, the total collections within the province’s 10 towns and lone city reached P841,727, he said.

He said the provincial government’s share out of the total collection from January to September amounted to P3.65 million.

The provincial imposition under mining and quarry covers sand and gravel tax; mining tax; mining permit fee; ore transport fee; occupational mining tax; verification fee; filing fee; permit fee; projection fee; processing fee; fines/penalties/surcharges; and, miscellaneous (delivery receipts).

“When compared to last year, there’s a slight drop in our present collection but we’re still on track in terms of meeting our target before the end of the year,” Flaviano said.

The official said that based on the trend these past years, they generate record revenues in the final quarter or last three months of the year.

He attributed the drop in their collections these past months to the suspension of individual quarry operations along the Topland and Marbel rivers in Koronadal City.

Flaviano said they instead established a communal quarry system to properly regulate quarry operations and prevent further scouring at the two rivers.

He said they earlier found heavy scouring in portions of the two rivers, which traverse Barangays Concepion, Magsaysay, Namnama and Sto. Nino in Koronadal City.

Lourdes Jumilla, head of PEMO’s mines and geoscience division, said only five quarry operators have remained in the area since they implemented the communal quarry system.

She said 18 quarry firms originally signed up to operate in the communal quarry area along Topland and Marbel rivers.

In terms of small-scale mining, which is mainly concentrated in Barangays Kematu and Desawo in T’boli town, she said the number of active tunnel owners or operators also dwindled these past months.

She said the decrease in the number of tunnel operators was due to the closure order imposed earlier this year by PEMO and the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board.

“Out of the original 184 registered tunnel owners, only 94 are currently operating,” Jumilla added.

The provincial government issued the closure orders in compliance with a directive from the PMRB and the provisions of Provincial Ordinance No. 7, series of 2003.

Ordinance No. 7 specifically sets the “taxes, fees, charges and other impositions on small-scale mining, mineral processing operations and transporting of mineral ore within the province of South Cotabato.”

The PMRB directed the crackdown against unlicensed or unregistered ore processors and ball mills as part of its campaign against illegal mining operations in the province. (MindaNews)