PHILEX Mining Corp. recently paid P29.8 million in real-property tax (RPT) to the municipality of Itogon covering a five-year period for a proposed tailings pond in Barangay Ampucao.

“This marks another point in our harmonious relationship with Itogon, one of our host towns, the other being Tuba,” Eulalio Austin, Jr., CEO and president of Philex Mining, said.

“We are happy that we have consistently helped build communities and contributed to nation-building through the taxes we paid,” added Austin.

During a recent turnover of the check worth P29,812,407 at the Baguio Country Club (BCC) Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex and resident manager of the miner’s Padcal operations in Benguet, said the amount represents two percent of the assessed land value representing 180 hectares for the would-be Tailings Storage Facility No. 4 (TSF4).

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said 50 percent or about P15 million of the total RPT, which covers from 2012 to 2016 and with back taxes to 2013 as required under a new tax declaration, is intended for the basic fund where 40 percent or about P6 million will go to the municipality, 25 percent or P3.7 million for Brgy. Ampucao, and 35 percent or P5.2 million for the province of Benguet.

“The basic fund for my town falls under the annual general fund, which will go toward the improvement of the municipal gym,” stressed Palangdan, who has thanked and praised Philex Mining on various occasions for having paid its taxes religiously, not to mention the various social and environmental projects it has implemented for beneficiaries in the town.

The other 50 percent of the P29.8 million RPT is mandated for allocation for the Special Education Fund (SEF), to be equally divided between Itogon and the provincial government. Intended to fund the needs of public schools, SEF goes toward teachers’ salaries, the building of classrooms and other facilities, and the purchase of necessary materials.

Roselyn Dahilan, finance group manager at Padcal, said the P15 million SEF alone could build 10 classrooms for big classes of 30 – 50 pupils each.

The basic fund, on the other hand, could pay for the salaries of 200 employees in a first-class municipality for 3.7 months.

Agcaoili reiterated his earlier statements that Philex would continue not to waver in fulfilling its tax obligations to both local and national governments, as part of its commitment to responsible mining—which the company, in fact, has brought a notch higher by putting a human face to it.

It can be noted in the past 12 years, Philex had spent P86.5 million for its education program in Padcal’s host and neighboring communities, P40 million for its livelihood program, and P306 million for public infrastructure.

The gold-and-copper producer had spent P65 million for environmental protection since the 1980s. (PR)