File photo by Cesar Tomambo/Senate PRIB
MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu is in favor of increasing the excise tax imposed on mining companies in the Philippines, he said on Thursday, October 19.
"Absolutely yes, kailangan (it's needed)," the chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said during a press conference in Malacañang.
The government imposes on miners a 2% excise tax based on the gross value of minerals, aside from corporate income tax and fees for local government units where their mines are located.
But other countries impose higher tax rates, some collecting 10% excise tax from mining companies.
Cimatu could not say by how much he wants excise tax to be increased but he is aware of options being suggested by some sectors.
"There was this study before. There were some proponents who wanted to increase this 2% to 5% but the mining companies are opposing, that's how it is," he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
"These are things we have to plan properly. But 2% seems too small," he added.
But Cimatu said increasing the excise tax is something he'll bring up with the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), an interagency body that advises the Office of the President on mining issues.
"There's nothing absolute now but think I will be bringing this to the MICC as part of policy recommendations," he said.
There are efforts in Congress to increase the excise tax on mineral products.
For instance, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri filed Senate Bill 1541, which seeks to increase the excise tax on non-metallic and metallic minerals and mineral products, and quarry products.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.