On the passage of a new mining tax bill at Congress
Congress has gifted the mining industry with lower taxes and royalty payments, with the passage of an unnumbered substitute bill yesterday. The House Committee on Ways and Means passed the bill sponsored by Rep. Estrellita Suansing, Chairperson of the committee. Reportedly, it will replace HBs 422 and 7994.
The already miserable state of losing out on mining revenues will be worsened with the passage of this bill, as TRAIN 2 (TRABAHO) will lower corporate income taxes, including those of mining companies.
For the measly taxes and payments we get from mining, the government’s revenue from minerals will be reduced. But the environmental, health and social costs that the country bears is too much.
We welcome new taxes for mining operations with the intent that communities and the whole country can benefit from the revenues of extracting minerals. However, we support the proposition that new taxes must be based on gross revenue, and not only in margins of income of mining companies.
In effect, this new substitute bill lowered the payments of large-scale mining operations in mineral reservations. It would have been more just if all large-scale mining operations were levied a 10% royalty payment requirement, based on gross revenues.
We support the provision that a ban on open-pit mining was introduced in the substitute bill. But we don’t believe that Congress will eventually pass that specific provision. At most, we can expect that at the final stages of passing this bill, that provision that bans open-pit mining will be scrapped by a bicameral committee.
Everyone must remember that this is the same Congress that rejected Ms. Gina Lopez on her confirmation as DENR secretary, presumably because of her strong stand against destructive large-scale mining.
We reiterate our call to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte that he can and he should, immediately issue an Executive Order that puts a ban on open-pit mining. #
For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0917) 549.82.18 <email@example.com>