Cebu News

Alcoy mining firm says it operates under the law

Robhe Jane C. Yara - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — One of the mining corporations based in Alcoy, Cebu whose operations the Cebu provincial government ordered stopped said it has always been compliant with the laws.

In a statement, the Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC) reiterated that it has been in the business for more than 40 years and has been compliant with the local and national laws.

"In light of the issuance of EO No. 7, PMSC is concerned about the risks it may cause to the safety of its employees, the negative impact to our customers, partners and investors and the adverse effects to the local economy of Alcoy and Dalaguete," read the statement.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia had earlier issued an Executive Order twice in 2020 and last February 17 ordering the mining firm to stop their operations for local tax and environmental laws violations.

This, after the provincial government has reportedly confirmed that the dolomite used in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay came from Alcoy, produced by firms PMSC and its neighbor Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC).

This led to then environment secretary Roy Cimatu to order the two mining firms to cease their operations temporarily in Alcoy to give way for the investigation of Pugalo's air, water, and coral quality by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Central Visayas offices.

Garcia pointed out that Section 124 of the Provincial Ordinance 2008-10 requires companies quarrying in areas under the province's jurisdiction to pay a tax equivalent to 10 percent of the local fair market value per cubic meter of quarry resources.

She stated that PMSC also failed to secure a governor's permit, which is necessary for companies doing business in Cebu Province under its tax Revenue Code.

Garcia said the firm owed the province roughly P1.9 billion in taxes excluding penalties and surcharges, for the volume of minerals it has sold since 2012 and its allegedly unpaid taxes from 2008 to 2011.

The PMSC has acknowledged receiving four tax assessments from the province, protested against such, and later brought the matter to court, saying it has not received any response from the Capitol.

Pending cases and TRO

The cases are still pending up to date.

The PMSC said that it obtained a Notice of Levy and auction sale of its properties from the province and filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and an application for a writ of preliminary injunction last January 4, questioning the legality of the notice with the tax assessment cases still pending in court.

The firm said it had been granted by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) a TRO last February 3 and had been issued a writ of preliminary injunction last February 23.

PMSC also stood firm that its operations were legal after the DENR lifted the suspension in November 2020 about a month after it was suspended in September of the same year.

"The suspension order was lifted on November 3, 2020, by no less than the DENR. It must be stressed that the lifting of the suspension order was made only after a thorough investigation was made by a team from the DENR-7 through the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO-DENR) Cebu, Environmental Management Bureau-7 (EMB-7), Regional Office No. VII, and the Mines & Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Regional Office No. VII."

"Moreover, PMSC has been consistently monitored by the Multi-Partite Monitoring Team (MMT) with respect to its compliance to the lifting order," added the statement.

Meanwhile, the DMC has paid an initial sum of P20 million out of the P65.7 million in taxes it owed to the province and promised to pay the remaining balance on a staggered basis last February 21. —/GAN (FREEMAN)

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