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Mining firm to pay over P67M real property tax to Nueva Vizcaya
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The OceanaGold Phlippines, Inc.(OGPI) is expected to pay the provincial government more than P67 million in Real Property Taxes(RPT) this week.
Lawyer Voltaire Garcia, provincial legal officer said the amount represents OGPI’s RPT payments for the year 2015 and 2016.
The provincial government is also waiting for the court’s decision on the interpleader case filed by OGPI regarding its payment of more than P29 million and more than P33 million as RPT payments for the years 2013 and 2014.
“The sudden payment of OGPI’s RPT to the province excludes the RPT for 2013 and 2014 because it is under protest. So with this agreement, we are expecting a continuous payment of their RPT to the provincial government,” Garcia said.
He said that the RPT payment of OGPI has been realized after the company agreed to a Memorandum of Agreement(MOA) with the provincial government.
Garcia said the MOA requires OGPI to pay its RPT for 2015 to 2016 and onwards while there is an interpleader case filed including the mining firm’s acceptance of sole responsibility to deal with matters that may arise should there be an opposition move from Quirino province.
According to Garcia, OGPI’s sudden move to settle their RPT payments might have been triggered by the directive from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) “why the mining firm should not be suspended”.
OGPI is one of the mining companies included in the list of mining companies of DENR to be suspended after a recent conduct of audit of all mining companies in the country.
Garcia also said the mining firm might have been informed of the plan of the provincial government to implement administrative remedies that will lead to the auction of their properties based on the provisions of the Local Government Code.
“This move was also supported by the provincial board who will authorize Provincial Treasurer Rhoda Moreno for this purpose,” he said.
OGPI operates its gold and copper mining project in barangay Didipio in Kasibu town while it is being opposed by villagers, anti – mining advocates and local officials.
Once paid, the RPT payment will be divided and classified into 50 percent basic tax and 50 percent Special Education Fund(SEF).
The basic tax will be shared as follows: 40 percent for the local government of Kasibu, 35 percent for the provincial government and 25 percent for the barangay.
The SEF likewise will be divided into 50 percent share for the provincial government and 50 percent for Kasibu town.
Earlier, the provincial government, backed by the villagers, anti-mining advocates and groups in the province have asked DENR secretary Gina Lopez to stop the on-going operation of OGPI because of its alleged human rights abuses and violations of environmental laws, rules and regulations.
Lopez responded by issuing the conduct of mining audit among all companies in the country which included OGPI’s operations