EDC clarifies alleged non-payment of P520-M realty taxes to Kidapawan LGU

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 28 January) — The Energy Development Corporation (EDC), the country’s producer of geothermal power, has clarified it is not remiss in paying real property taxes to the city government here.

Ivy Henson of the EDC’s corporate communications division said her company has “faithfully” paid its realty taxes based on what was provided for in the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Henson clarified that under the law, the EDC, as producer of renewable energy, is entitled to certain incentives, one of which is on payment of real property taxes (RPT).

The EDC owns geothermal power facilities located at Barangay Ilomavis here.  Its geothermal power plants are producing 106 megawatts of power for Mindanao.

Mt. Apo Geothermal power plants within the 701-hectare geothermal reservation at the Mt. Apo National Park in Barangay Ilomavis, Kidapawan City in North Cotabato. Photo courtesy of EDC website http://www.energy.com.ph/edc-at-a-glance/our-business/

Earlier, the Kidapawan City  LGU (local government unit) issued a warrant of levy to collect from EDC unpaid RPT worth P520 million.  It said the company has not been paying the correct amount of realty taxes since 2010.

Weeks after the EDC received the warrant, the EDC filed a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction at the Regional Trial Court branch 17 here.

“The city government has a different view on this issue, and seeks to collect allegedly unpaid real property taxes, which we believe are not in accordance with applicable law,” said Henson.

She explained that her company has gone to court to preserve its rights, even as it continues to work with the city government.

EDC, she said, has been operating in Kidapawan City for 20 years, “providing Mindanao with clean, reliable, and affordable power.”

“During all this time, EDC has been an active and responsible corporate citizen of Kidapawan in partnership with the city and provincial governments, local communities, and indigenous peoples. We are committed to continuing our service to Mindanao and we look forward to the eventual resolution of this dispute,” she added.

“We ask that the process be respected and that inflammatory statements tending to politicize the matter be avoided,” she stressed.

But Kidapawan City councilor Mike Rualo, chair of the Committee on Energy of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, denied there is politics involved in the city’s move to collect real property taxes from the EDC.

“There is no politics involved in this real property tax issue.  This is a different thing.   The LGU’s mandate is to collect taxes that are due them.  Walang pulitika dyan,” said Rualo.  (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)