Bill on mining fiscal regime hurdles 2nd reading at House

MANILA The House of Representatives on Wednesday night approved on second reading a measure seeking to establish a fiscal regime for the mining industry.

The Lower House passed via voice vote House Bill No. 8400, which seeks to rationalize and create a single fiscal regime applicable to all mineral agreements. This came two days after the bill hurdled the committee level.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, sponsor of the measure, said the bill proposes an equitable imposition of royalty on mining operations within and outside mineral reservations, whether small- or large-scale.

"Equity dictates that fiscal burden should be shared equally by all who explore the natural resources of the country," Suansing said.

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.

On the other hand, for all small-scale mining operations within or outside mineral reservations, a royalty equivalent to 1/10 of 1 percent of gross output shall be imposed.

It also seeks to impose an additional margin-based tax on windfall profits gained from mining operations, ranging from 1 percent to 10 percent.

The bill prevents mining contractors from depending on excessive debt funding, exempts all mining contractors from the coverage of the confidentiality clauses of the National Internal Revenue Code to ensure transparency, and requires the registration of small-scale miners with the Mining Board. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency