Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Zambales losing P3-billion tax due to DENR mining deal

IBA, Zambales – The province of Zambales is losing some P3-billion in taxes due to the Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSA) signed between large-scale mining companies and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Governor Amor Deloso said that at the moment there are around 30 MPSAs covering the mountains of Zambales.

“Zambales has lost about P3 billion in taxes due to the MPSAs. It is certainly unfair to my people that they don’t gain anything from these when they suffer from the pollution and the other inconveniences it (mining operations) brings,” he said.

Large-scale mining corporations pay taxes directly to the national government and have produced billions of pesos while small-scale mining here only produced some P135 million worth of tax.

Under the current set-up, local governments like Zambales have no control over large-scale miners despite being host to their operations. Local government units (LGUs) only regulate small-scale mining.

Deloso said large-scale mining corporations have no “social conscience” and have been ravaging the lands for the past 75 years.

Despite the MPSA, Deloso said, mining companies operating in Zambales should contribute to the development of this province aside from just enriching themselves.

Deloso said, “They should show some social conscience because they’re just permittees who make a living out of our land. They don’t own the mountains here. They should give us some respect.”

Zambales has been one of the richest areas in terms of mineral deposits, but have failed to gain development since the start of mining operations 75 years ago.

Deloso said the reason why Zambales hasn’t risen to the ranks of being a fully-develop province is that most of the taxes that come from mining go directly to the national government. By JONAS REYES - Manila Bulletin

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