Saturday, November 8, 2008

Bukidnon eyes sand, gravel, mineral code

Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. has pushed for the passing of the provincial sand and gravel mineral code as a means to protect the environment and increase revenue."It is an initiative to regulate use of minerals, protect the environment, and expand local revenue base with the imposition of regulatory fees and charges," Zubiri said in his budget speech on October 30.

Zubiri is likely to get the nod of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board).

Glenn Peduche, chair, provincial board committee on environmental protection, told this reporter on November 5 they are already preparing the proposed legislation and would likely tackle it after the board's recess in time for its hosting of the 8th Mindanao Island Conference of the Provincial Board Members League of the Philippines on November 12 to 14.

Zubiri has called on the board to "fast-track the adoption" of the code.
Peduche said Zubiri stressed that the provincial government's opposition to large-scale mining must be emphasized in the proposed legislation.

Zubiri also cited in his speech that the Joint Executive-Legislative Council must prioritize a revisit of the Provincial Tax Ordinance of 1992.

"All revenue sources within our authority and jurisdiction must be thoroughly
explored," he said.

Peduche said a review of the tax ordinance is also timely since it was good for the situation 16 years ago.
The Zubiri administration has vowed to increase the provincial government's revenue next year with five strategies to achieve revenue targets while eyeing lesser dependence on the internal revenue allotment (IRA).

The provincial government also vowed to keep budget controls and to prioritize expenditures.
Zubiri vowed to pursue "intensified tax collection" for real property tax issuing a strong warning against delinquent taxpayers.

He also plans to implement "strict monitoring of revenues" derived from sand and gravel, mineral resources, veterinary and other regulatory fees to "optimize the income base and increase collection".

In 2007, the province earned more from tax on delivery vans and trucks at P1.87 million than from tax on sand, gravel, and other quarry products computed only at P1.20 million.
The province's income from veterinary fees and charges at P1.9 million is higher than its income from small scale mining fees and charges (P447, 078) and from sand and gravel fees and charges (P200,595).

A according to the Certified Statement of Receipts endorsed by the Local Finance Committee to the provincial board, the province earned at least P60.19 million outside of its IRA.
More than half of that income came from tax revenues at P30.7 million, P24.9 million of that real property tax and P2.5 million property transfer tax.

The province earned only P121,100 from professional tax, P28,382 from franchise tax, and only P16,150 from amusement tax.

Zubiri said he would pursue collaboration efforts with municipal treasurers and assessors adding "optimum collective goals will be set and appropriate incentives shall be provided to top performers".

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