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Exec denies LGU quarrel over P200 M Philex taxes
Jimmy K. Laking
Business, 4-13-2014

Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentrez last week vehemently denied that the municipalities of Tuba and Itogon were quarreling over the usage of the P200 million business taxes that Philex Mines has agreed to remit as a result of a compromise agreement.

“It was irresponsible and unfounded to say the two towns were quarreling when in fact they were united from the start,” said Bentrez, saying the report appears to be an attempt to drive a wedge between the local government units.

He said both towns were actually finalizing last week a memorandum of agreement that will bind both towns and the mining company for the payment of 50 percent of the P200M agreed upon as soon as possible.

This meant Philex will have to shell out the initial amount of P100M to be divided equally by both towns.

“As agreed upon between the two towns, 50 percent of the initial amount will be used to fund ongoing projects and programs while the other half will have to be paid in cash,” he said.

The two towns have initially billed Philex Mines the sum of P1,361,451 representing business taxes from 2002 to 2011, a move supported by provincial officials, who were unanimous in saying it was an obligation that the mining company must comply with.

A three-cornered negotiation ensued with the two towns and Philex finally settling for a compromise amount of P200M.

But Bentrez said the towns were pressing the company to cough out 50 percent of the amount as soon as possible to expedite ongoing projects and programs, hence the drafting of the MOA.

“There is no reason to delay the remittance of what Philex initially agreed to pay,” he said.

He said the proposed MOA is being drafted by the municipal council of Tuba and will be presented to its Itogon counterpart before it will be presented to the mining company.

The two LGUs have anchored their joint and collaborative effort in collecting the business taxes from Philex on a circular of the Department of Finance.

Both towns have also agreed that the amount to be collected would be divided equally between them.

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