Issue of February 11, 2018
     
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Benguet
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Small–scale miners ask for filing fee reduction
by Primo Agatep / PNA

ITOGON, Benguet – Small-scale miners sought the assistance of local leaders in asking for the lowering of the processing and filing fees required for the Minahang Bayan.

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said small-scale miners had been clamoring for lower fees and retention fees of the total value of gold that they extract.

Palangdan said P1,600 is being collected from the miners as payment for processing and filing fees.

He added small-scale miners are also asking for the lowering of the weight and percentage requirements of gold to be sold to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The local government of Itogon and the Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners are finalizing a proposal to be submitted to the BSP and the Bureau of Internal Revenue to address the issue.

The mayor said that since the BIR increased the creditable withholding tax from two to five percent, local small-scale miners have stopped selling gold to the BSP and, instead, go to the “black market,” depleting the country’s gold reserves.

“The small-scale miners in Benguet are willing to pay,” Palangdan said, adding he has been going to the different barangays and urging the small-scale miners to sell their gold to the BSP.

Itogon is host to 66 percent of small-scale miners in Benguet, with the remaining 34 percent spread in the Tuba, Mankayan, Kabayan, Bokod, and Atok.

“It is a way of demonstrating our support to the tax move of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Palangdan said.

Out of the four percent excise tax being collected, 60 percent goes to the national government, while the remaining 40 percent is shared by the hosts of mining activities in a province, municipality, and the barangays.

Palangdan said Itogon is crafting a comprehensive land use plan, aimed at identifying areas for the Minahang Bayan.


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