Garcia wants higher penalties for negligent sand and gravel operators

CEBU. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. (File photo)
CEBU. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia. (File photo)

GOVERNOR Gwendolyn Garcia has announced proposed revisions to the Provincial Revenue Code that would tighten penalties for negligent sand and gravel operators in Cebu Province, with the goal of improving regulation of these businesses.

Concerns regarding infractions of the Capitol's policies governing sand and gravel activities, trading, and hauling have prompted the change.

The revisions will be submitted to the Provincial Board so that appropriate action can be taken.

The governor underlined the necessity of strict laws to deter infractions and guarantee adherence to the province's objectives, which now include regulatory fees for companies operating in this booming sector.

Penalties for violators could rise to P1 million for those who violate the law for the fifth time under the proposed modifications, which is a significant increase from the previous penalty grades.

This action is intended to discourage infractions and enforce compliance with regulations, specifically addressing problems like production underreporting, which has been a recurring issue, Sugbo News reported during the Governor's meeting with concerned stakeholders at the Capitol on Thursday, March 7.

Speaking to the hundreds of stakeholders in attendance, Governor Garcia emphasized the concerning pattern of infractions in the sector, implying that these kinds of actions have become standard amongst producers of gravel and sand.

She pointed out that prior fines had not been enough to discourage illicit activity, especially in light of the substantial profits obtained from non-compliance.

The proposed modifications highlight the Provincial Government's dedication to guaranteeing accountability, justice, and transparency in the sand and gravel industry.

Furthermore, since 2019, the income contribution of Cebu's sand and gravel businesses has been continuously rising, underscoring the sector's importance in the province's revenue creation.

For example, according to Rodel Bontuyan, the head of Capitol's provincial environment, the province collected P628 million from this industry in 2023 alone, up from P396 million in 2022.

From P128 million in 2020 and P97 million in 2019, Capitol's revenue collection from this sector increased to P303 million in 2021.

After the meeting, Toledo City processor Jeffrey Borja expressed his approval of the Capitol's decision, noting that he was happy to learn about the numerous initiatives the Provincial Government had carried out with the industry’s help as a source of funding.

He stated that stakeholders will now be more cautious about sticking to legal activities as a result of these tougher restrictions.

Gieuly Abatayo, a trader, reiterated this, stating that he, too, will abide by any orders the Provincial Government gives them. (TPT WITH PR)


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