DOF: Mining royalty remains on gov’t agenda
The Department of Finance (DOF) on Thursday reiterated the passage of the comprehensive tax reform program remained a priority of the Duterte administration, including the proposal to slap a royalty on all mining operations.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III told reporters there was a “misunderstanding” after House Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo clarified during a hearing on the mining bill that the measure was not her priority but that of the administration’s.
According to reports, Arroyo was told by her former Presidential Adviser Gloria Tan-Climaco, who is now with Filminera Resources Corp., that “the measure you are preparing, it is going to kill the industry.”
During the hearing, Arroyo washed her hands of alleged influence-peddling, saying: “I said ‘do not tell me that—this is an administration measure. Tell that to the DOF.’ And she [Tan-Climaco] said, ‘but I’ve told Sonny Dominguez … he said ‘that is not my priority, that’s GMA’s priority.’”
But Dominguez said: “If the mining bill is ready to be passed, then we respect the House decision to pass it.”
The DOF’s proposal, which formed part of tax reform package “2 Plus,” is included in House Bill No. 7951 filed by new ways and means committee chair and Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing.
Under the DOF-backed bill, a rationalized and single fiscal regime will be applied to all existing and prospective large metallic, nonmetallic mines, as well as small-scale mines.
The proposed mining fiscal regime will thus cover all mines, regardless of whether the mine is located inside or outside a mineral reservation.
Dominguez said besides the mining tax measure, the next they would push for legislation were tax amnesty, higher alcohol and tobacco taxes, higher motor vehicles user’s charge, financial taxes, and property taxes, “in that order.”
“All tax packages are important and contribute to improving our tax system. We recommend to prioritize those with larger revenue impact to fund our infrastructure and human capital development priorities,” Dominguez said.
In his State of the Nation Address in July, President Duterte asked Congress to pass the remaining pending packages of the administration’s comprehensive tax reform program before yearend.
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