Mining firm’s closure still an option

By Ma. Elena Catajan

Saturday, July 21, 2012

PHILEX Mining Corporation is not out of the woods yet.

Although Itogon Mayor Oscar Camantiles is thankful for the response of Philex on issues concerning taxes and illegal structure, the option to close Philex’s operations is still on the back burner of the town.

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“It is still an option if they do not comply [with Itogon’s demands],” Camantiles stressed.

The mayor said the company has so far contacted the municipality on issues of accumulated business taxes since 2002 as well as the notice of illegal construction of eight structures.

“We will wait and see, but in fairness to Philex they have been talking to us.”

The structures’ closure due to lack of building permits and other pertinent documents may be a last option for Camantiles if the issues compounding Philex and the town are not resolved.

Camantiles said efforts by the company to reconcile tax payments due to the municipality have been seen when representatives came to the town to clear contrasting computations.

“I have told our staff not to make things difficult for Philex,” he said.

The town has accounted for P542,277,452.94 in payments due which Philex is likewise contesting pending a reassessment.

An executive committee has been formed by Camantiles to focus on the issue.

“Philex said we should reconcile a formula in the computation,” the mayor added.

Camantiles said he has gotten word the mining company has paid P29 million in taxes recently of which 70 percent goes to the field office in Pasig and 30 percent to the main office.

Weeks ago Philex was served notice of illegal construction given by municipal engineer Charlie Gayaso for illegally repairing bunk houses at the Eastern Saddle in Ampucao; illegal construction of oil separators near the Bomolo tunnel and vehicular bridge; illegal construction of a conveyor belt, mill building field office, a penstock at dam 3; installation of piping systems for a tailing dam 2 and 3; and excavation spillways at dams 2 and 3 all in Ampucao.

Camantiles said next week is the ultimatum set for Philex to pay the proper taxes for municipal documents of the structures or face more severe action from the town.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 21, 2012.


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