May 22, 2017: Legislator says fiscal regime for mining awaiting clearer government direction

May 22, 2017: Legislator says fiscal regime for mining awaiting clearer government direction
 

ANY CHANGE in the mining industry’s fiscal regime will only create “confusion,” given the uncertain policies coming out of the Environment department, a legislator said.

“I think until such time that we get a clear-cut direction on what the administration wants from mining, I think it’s going to be difficult to implement or even propose a policy regarding revenue (sharing) with the mining industry,” said Deputy Speaker Romero Federico S. Quimbo in a phone interview on Friday when asked if legislators will go forward with a mining revenue-sharing scheme.

“It will only add confusion at this point if we do that. Until that decision is made, I think everything is going to be superfluous or even useless,” he said.

The mining revenue sharing scheme — which was authored by Mr. Quimbo in the previous Congress after it was proposed by the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) — aims to increase the government’s take from mining operations.

“Do they want to terminate existing mining agreements? Do they want to encourage it? And I think those are more essential or threshold questions that need to be answered by the executive (branch) even before we take up revenue measures in Congress,” he added.

Before she was rejected by the Commission of Appointments, Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez ordered 23 of 41 metal mines shut down, while suspending five more — based on the department’s audit in July that found the miners to be violating environmental management standards.

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