DENR, MICC push for lifting of MPSA applications

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THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) are lobbying for the lifting of the moratorium on applications for mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA), which can only be possible with a new fiscal regime, according to an official.

“We are lobbying, timing lang siguro. DENR and MICC are lobbying for the lifting,” Wilfredo G. Moncano, director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), told reporters.

“Yung EO (Executive Order) 79 says that the moratorium on MPSA application can only be lifted if there is a new fiscal regime, meaning taxation. Our argument is there is already the TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) 1, doubling the excise tax but DoF (Department of Finance) says that they still need to impose the royalty on mining operations outside mineral reservations which is under TRAIN 2,” Mr. Moncano added, clarifying that applications for exploration are still possible.

EO 79 was signed by former President Benigno S. Aquino III on July 6, 2012. It increased the number of sites restricted for mining, and limited small-scale mining operations within a declared Minahang Bayan. The order aims to increase the government’s share in profit made by mining companies.

“Hindi pa napasa ang TRAIN 2, napasa na ng House. Ang position namin ay much lower. We were suggesting at 3% only,” Mr. Moncano said, in reference to the excise tax increase to 4%. There is also a proposal of an imposition of 5% royalty fee for mining companies.

“May mga mining companies na nag-express na nabibigatan sila. They said it will have inflationary effect because ipapatong nila yan sa presyo ng kanilang products,” Mr. Moncano said. — R.J.N. Ignacio