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No price hike for ‘gray gold’

/ 06:07 AM October 09, 2016

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Here’s good news for the construction industry.

The 1,000 truckloads of Mt. Pinatubo sand that are hauled out daily from Porac town in Pampanga province are not going to cost any higher—at least for the moment.

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The price freeze on the so-called “gray gold” was enforced after the Porac Quarry Association (PQA) agreed to suspend its collection of an additional P200 fee on truckers.

The new fee was supposed to go to the maintenance of heavy equipment such as loaders at quarry sites, according to Norman Bengco, PQA president.

But the Pampanga provincial board had urged the group to freeze the new fees.

The price of sand varies, depending on the distance traveled by trucks from Porac. The operators also cover the following expenses: a P150 sand tax, a P250 administrative fee, a P30 weighing scale fee, toll on expressways, fuel and lubricants, depreciation price of trucks or rentals, salaries of drivers and other local fees.

The board stepped in at the request of the truckers seeking relief from high cost of operations, said Vice Gov. Dennis Pineda.

The provincial revenue code authorizes the board to intervene in the local mineral industry either to regulate fees or to set higher taxes.

Fair market value

The PQA accepted a proposal to convene a committee that would determine the fair market value of each cubic meter of sand, gravel and other quarry resources, in order to have bases for setting sand tax and other fees.

In determining fees, PQA Director Antonio Ayson urged the provincial government to also consider the diminishing supply of sand in Porac and the ban imposed by the Department of Public Works and Highways on quarrying two kilometers from the Porac Bridge and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

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The ban stopped PQA members from accessing 2,600 hectares of quarry areas upstream of the Pasig-Potrero River, Ayson said. —TONETTE OREJAS

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TAGS: construction industry, Mt. Pinatubo, Porac Quarry Association, Truckers
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