Mining can buoy COVID funds

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    The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) yesterday said this is the best time to lift the policy restrictions on the industry to help raise funds for the government’s social amelioration programs for the pandemic.

    Rocky Dimaculangan, CMP vice president for communications, said in a press briefing without the ban on open pit mining and on new mining agreements issued eight years ago, government revenues would have increased as many mining firms will be allowed to operate.

    Miners have realigned their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds to COVID-19 relief operations.

    Dimaculangan said P402 million has been allocated by the mining industry to the government’s COVID-19 response of which P364 million has been released. Seventy percent of the latter comes from the 364 members of COMP.

    The mining industry was expecting new mining agreements would be allowed when the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law was signed in 2019 which doubled from 2 percent to 4 percent the tax on gross income.

    Mining contributes 12 percent to the GDP of the CARAGA region where the industry is concentrated, Dimaculangan said. In MIMAROPA, its contribution to the GDP is 9 percent.
    Mining has 100,000 direct employees and up to 650,000 rely on the industry, Dimaculangan said. — Paul Icamina