Pampanga quarry collection breaches P1-B mark
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines— Sand spewed out by Mount Pinatubo in 1991 has yielded more than P1 billion in quarry revenues and fees for Pampanga province during the administration of Gov. Lilia Pineda, a report from the provincial government environment and natural resources office (PGENRO) said.
This is the first time that the P150 sand tax and P250 administrative fee breached the
P1-billion collection, PGENRO chief Arthur Punsalan said in a telephone interview on Friday.
Pineda’s first term from 2010 to 2013 generated P799.2 million, surpassing the P611.1 million under former Gov. Eddie Panlilio, who initiated reforms in the multibillion-peso industry when he assumed office in 2007.
Their collections exceeded the P115.6 million drawn during the 11 years of the administrations of former Governors Manuel “Lito” Lapid and his son, Mark, and the P394.5 million generated by the state-owned Natural Resources Development Corp. of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in three years, provincial capitol records showed.
Pineda set a target of P1.6 billion at the end of her second term.
“It is important to derive more income from quarry so that our local revenues are increased for more social services,” she said.
Andres Pangilinan, provincial administrator, said the sand tax, as a local income, was distributed to the provincial government, cities or towns, and villages from where the sand was hauled at a 30-30-40 percent sharing in compliance with the provision of the Local Government Code of 1991.
Pangilinan said the administrative fee went solely to the provincial government that uses the proceeds to monitor and regulate the industry.
Audit reports in 2011 and 2012 showed that taxes on sand, gravel and other quarry products were at P154.9 million and P185.8 million, respectively.
While collections showed continued increases, civil society groups or church organizations have not organized village-level monitors to track down how quarry revenues are used.
Barangay (village) Mancatian in Porac town gets the biggest take at an average of P2 million monthly.
A proposal to computerize the payment system at the provincial treasurer’s office was not pursued after former Vice
Gov. Joseller Guiao finished his term and won a seat in the House of Representatives last year.
Pangilinan said the system had been improved, leaving no room for provincial government personnel to engage in corruption.
He said administrative fees amounting to P35.5 million and regulatory fees worth P272.7 million, which were entered into the accounts of the provincial government as “deferred credits,” have been returned to the general fund.
Panlilio put these funds in a bank when he asked the court to resolve the legality of Ordinance No. 176, which abolishes the P150 sand tax. The provincial board later repealed the ordinance and the court dismissed the case. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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