Tuba, Itogon pursue Philex

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Monday, February 17, 2014


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Highland towns are running after a mining giant aiming to collect over a billion in taxes.

In a joint resolution, Tuba and Itogon towns agreed to collaborate efforts to collect from Philex Mining Corporation P1,361,451,514.11 representing business taxes unpaid since 2002.

The amount is a result of a joint assessment of both towns’ treasury offices.

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"Despite several demands, Philex had been and continue to be defiant in paying its business taxes due to the Local Governments of Itogon and Tuba. Philex had been exploiting the boundary dispute between Itogon and Tuba by always raising 'jurisdictional issue’ to justify its unwillingness to pay," the joint resolution signed by members of the council of the towns stated.

The joint resolution added the boundary dispute between Itogon and Tuba has taken its place in the history of these local government units and yet for over 50 years "no case has been filed in court simply because of our strong adherence to the principles of amicable settlement as a way of settling disputes."

The present municipal officials of Tuba and Itogon have shown their willingness and commitment to resolve the issue with the conviction the matter to finally be put to rest.

In the past, Philex vice president of Legal Affairs Ike Rodriguez said a resolution of boundary disputes have to be settled before any payment is made.

Rodriguez said the company has urged both towns to settle their boundary disputes for a tax settlement to ensue as the company can only start to compute the taxes due to both municipalities when a definite host community is determined by courts.

In the agreement, the billions due to both municipalities have been agreed to be split and put into an escrow account until the land dispute has been decided on.

The respective Sanggunians of the municipalities of Itogon and Tuba agreed to split the proceeds from the collection.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 18, 2014.

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