Benguet beefs up revenue generation measures
by SC Aro
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (29 October) -- The provincial government is bent on strengthening its resources to back up its programs and projects with the ultimate aim of decreasing its dependence on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the national government.
Provincial Governor Nestor Fongwan said strengthening of its resources is one of the major concerns of the province as it lacks resources. He said as much as possible the province would decrease its dependency from IRA as it is 85 percent IRA dependent.
Among those underscored by Fongwan to boost its resources is the collection of franchise taxes, real property taxes, and other shares from Transco, National Power Corporation which includes San Roque and Binga dams, and other hydroelectric power corporations such as the Hydroelectric Corporation, Luzon Hydro Development Corporation including mining companies.
Fongwan said the province will look into the collectibles and enforce tax measures not yet implemented to augment its coffers.
He cited the problem with NAPOCOR on the payment of real property tax which is over and above the franchise tax. He added the province will also be negotiating on the payment of franchise taxes of San Roque and Binga dams.
In support to the resource generation program of the province, Board Member Juan Nazarro said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will file necessary case in court against the NAPOCOR for the immediate release of taxes due the province.
Although the province needs revenue from mining companies, the province according to Fongwan has a responsibility to look foremost into the welfare of the people such as its repercussions to the environment particularly on massive destruction of the forest.
Fongwan said the province will come up with policies for a sustainable and responsible mining. He cited that there are several groups undertaking explorations without securing permits from Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The governor is also encouraging investors such as those venturing on hydroelectric power considering the province's hydro power generation resources and the relatively high share of local governments from revenue generated.
Seeing the importance of the enactment of an Investment Code, Fongwan said this would serve as guide for investors interested to venture in the province indicating the benefits and exemptions an investor would avail of.
Nazarro said the participation of municipal local government units in drafting the code is critical as they are directly involved in the issuance of necessary permits, giving of incentives and other benefits. He said the SP hopes to accomplish the drafting of the code for enactment first quarter of 2008. (PIA-Benguet) [top]