Albay Rep. Joey Salceda filed a bill that seeks to establish a fiscal regime for the mining industry.
Salceda, chair of the House ways and means committee, filed House Bill 5022, which proposes an equitable imposition of royalty on mining operations within and outside mineral reservations.
The present law requires payment of royalty fees only in mining sites declared as mineral reservations.
Under the proposal, a 3-percent royalty tax shall be imposed on large-scale mining operations within a mineral reservation.
Meanwhile, a margin-based royalty tax shall be imposed on large-scale mining operations outside mining reservation areas, ranging from 1 percent to 5 percent.
Small-scale mining operations shall be exempt from the payment of royalty.
The measure also proposed the creation of the Natural Resource Trust Fund, a sovereign wealth fund for use by local governments where mines are located.
The fund shall be used by local government units to support educational programs, technological, research programs of local relevance, disaster risk management, rehabilitation of abandoned mines, and health services programs of the communities directly affected by mining activities.
“This measure acknowledges that mining operations deleteriously affect the carrying capacity of the environment, to the detriment of future generations,” Salceda said in his explanatory note.
The bill optimizes revenues from mining agreements through an auctioning system to be established by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
“This will minimize awarding of mineral agreements based on asymmetrical information, first-come-first-served system, and patronage politics,” he said.
“It shall promote investments in mineral-rich areas through an online portal open to the public,” he added.
Another feature of the bill is the institutionalization of the nation’s participation in the Philippine Extractive Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) provided under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Order No. 2017-07 requiring full public disclosure in the mining industry, particularly in revenue collection, and tax payments. (PNA)