Revenue sharing hot topic for mining EO
SURIGAO CITY, Philippines—The proposed executive order on revenue sharing is a major topic for discussion among high government officials involved with the economy and climate change, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said in a phone interview from Manila.
Paje said that the officials were set to discuss on Friday the merits of expanding the implementation of the proposed 5 percent royalty under existing regulations for mines operating in mineral reservations and the proposed 50-50 sharing of revenue. He said inputs from various consultations would be considered.
Paje said that of 31 medium- and large-scale mining companies, 11 are currently paying the 5 percent royalty on top of the 2 percent excise tax under existing laws.
In this sense the playing field is not level because other companies not operating in mineral reservations are not paying the same royalty, something which the government aims to address through the upcoming executive order, Paje said.
“The remaining major point of contention is on revenue-sharing and that is why this is the main topic of the meeting today,” Paje said, referring to his meeting with other Cabinet-level officials on the mining issues to be tackled by the executive order. “The good thing is, based on reports, the mining industry seems willing to work with government on increased revenue-sharing. As for the harmonization of national and local laws, as well as how to address concerns on small-scale and illegal mining, both government and industry want those resolved so there is really no contention there,” Paje said.
Reforms are important for the industry, which provides raw materials for many things, Rodolfo L. Velasco, Jr., chief of the Mining and Safety Division of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, said on the sidelines of the Forum on Responsible Minerals Development organized in Surigao City by the Canadian Embassy. He noted at the forum that mining not only covers metals but also non-metallic minerals that go towards making cement.
The government is also encouraging miners to go beyond compliance in meeting environmental and social concerns, Cesar S. Siador, Jr., chief of the DENR-Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Division said in the Surigao City conference.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines is set to hold a press conference Friday afternoon on the proposed revenue-sharing provisions of the draft EO.
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