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Cagayan quarry tax revenue up 1000% from 2016-quarry chief

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Cagayan’s Quarry Division Chief Edwin Jesus Buendia said the provincial government’s quarry tax revenue has grown by 1000% from November 2016.

Buendia said records from the Provincial Treasury Office show that quarry tax revenue has reached up to P68.5 million as of Monday, October 30.

This year’s current collection is also P13.5 million higher than the total collection in 2015 wherein black sand mining was still operating in Cagayan.

The quarry division set a target collection of P50 million this 2017.

The figures show that the quarry division was able to collect P4 million in January, P7.3 million in February, 10.3 million in March, P6.9 million in April, P9.5 million in May, P7.8 million in June, P7.7 in July, P5.5 million in August, P4.6 million in September, and P2.8 million in October.

With the increase, Buendia ‘conditioned’ his team to at least reach P75 million by the end of the year.

Bantay Quarry

Buendia, a detailed employee from Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region 02, attributed the increase of quarry tax revenue with the hiring of more ‘Bantay Quarry’ checkers in the province.

The hiring of 93 checkers last November resulted to a collection of more than P3 million in that month alone, he said. In the second semester of 2016, quarry tax collection ballooned to P9 million from P4 million in the first semester.

As of now, the division has 81 quarry checkers. All of them were deputized as mining officers by MGB Regional Director Mario Ancheta on Friday, November 3.

Buendia, however, admitted that they are still in need of more bantay quarry checkers, despite the improvement in quarry tax collection.

“Kulang na kulang ang aming mga tao kasi pabawas ng pabawas [ang puwersa sila]. Meron din naman yung mga medyo nagloloko, medyo lumilihis ng landas, kaya tineterminate natin ang mga ‘yan,” he said.

Bantay quarry checkers from some inaccessible sites were also temporarily deployed to other areas to augment monitoring force.

In some sites, both checkers and operators’ loaders were unable to access some quarrying areas in Cagayan because of high water level in rivers brought by nonstop rains.

The rains were also attributed to the province’s low quarry collection in October. “Medyo matumal ngayong buwan [ng Oktubre] dahil nag-uulan [kaya] natural ‘yan more or less three milyon lang [sa isang buwan ang collection]…dahil hindi naman tayo tinigilan ng ulan kaya mababa ang ating koleksyon,” Buendia said.

Gradually complying 

Buendia said that operators and haulers are now gradually complying with the province’s quarry tax scheme after last year’s quarry summit.

“Nung una talagang nahirapan din [sila]. Siyempre may transition period yung mga ‘yan [operators and haulers] medyo nanibago…mula sa libre kailangan nang magbayad, so merong mga pasaway,” he said.

“Kaya ang ginawa natin winarningan natin verbally. Nung ayaw huminto pinuntahan natin mismo at tinakot [sila] na hihilain natin yung equipment nila kung hindi pa rin sila magbabayad,” he added.

He reminded operators and contractors to pay fees and charges as stated by the provincial tax ordinance.

Meanwhile, Buendia said the largest quarry tax collection comes from Penablanca town. The towns of Amulung, Ballesteros, and Allacapan had no reported operations. There is no monitoring in Calayan. Northernforum.net

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