LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Gov. Ramon “Mon-mon” Guico III has warned quarry operators in Pangasinan that they cannot operate in the province if they do not want to pay the new taxes and fees being imposed on quarrying activities.
“My statement to them and there are only a few of them is this: If you do not agree with the new fees and you keep on complaining, don’t quarry here in Pangasinan. Go to other provinces. And don’t destroy our roads, bridges, and mountains here in Pangasinan,” said Governor Guico.
Last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan unanimously approved a provincial tax ordinance that amended the province’s 11-year-old Revenue Code and increased mineral extraction fees from P16 per cubic meter (cu.m.) to P50 per cu. m.
The ordinance, which was implemented last month, also imposed administrative fees ranging from P50 per cu. m. to P250 per cu. m., depending on the volume of minerals loaded on the truck.
In addition, road maintenance fees ranging from P100 per cu. m. to P300 per cu. m. per truckload were collected, also depending on volume of minerals being hauled.
Under the ordinance, 40 percent of the taxes collected will go to the barangay where the resources were extracted, 30 percent will go to the town or city, and 30 percent to the province.
“So, they should not say that all of the money go to the province because that’s not true. The barangay and the town also benefit from the extraction fees,” said Governor Guico.
The governor said that the administrative fees being collected are for the purchase of equipment and gadgets for the remote monitoring of the quarry sites.
“We should know how many trucks go there, how much they pay, and how many are going out of the area, etc.,” Governor Guico said.
He said that the road maintenance fee will be used to repair the provincial roads and bridges traversed by hauling trucks.
“First of all, it’s only them who are destroying our roads and bridges. It happened in Bayambang. Overloading. How much will it cost the government to fix that? At least P300 million,” said Governor Guico.
The governor was referring to the Wawa Bridge, which collapsed in October last year as two trucks overloaded with sand and gravel crossed the bridge.
Last year, officials of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources informed Governor Guico that Pangasinan had been charging the lowest extraction fee in the Ilocos Region since 2010.
“Do you know much the province collected from quarrying fees in 2022? Only P12 million. From all the quarry sites from 1st to 6th district of the province,” Guico said.
“And do you know how much it will cost us to repair our provincial roads and bridges? More than P1 billion. Where will we get the money,” he added.
Under the provincial tax ordinance, operators of illegal quarry sites and mines may be charged with theft of minerals, which is punishable under the provisions of RA 7942 or Philippine Mining Act of 1995.
Quarry operators are also required by the ordinance to rehabilitate the excavated area to “a condition suitable for agricultural or other economic activities.”
They are required to pay a cash bond of P100,000 before a permit is issued to ensure that they will comply with this obligation. Otherwise, the bond will be forfeited and they will no longer be issued a quarry permit in the future. By Dexter A. See