The 800-seating capacity grandstand of Bataraza Sports Complex (Photo courtesy of RTNMC)

The Bataraza municipal government recently unveiled two “big” projects and is poised to become the first city in southern Palawan come 2020.

Town mayor Abraham Ibba told Palawan News that the municipal vision was materialized with the boost from two companies—Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC).

“Napakalaki ang impact ng binabayad ni RTN at CBNC. ‘Yong gross income tax [collected] ng Bataraza, more or less 80-85 percent coming from two companies,” he said.

Buildings of hope

Bataraza Sports Complex, a sports facility worth P64 million, was recently used for the Palarong Panlalawigan 2019.

The complex which only took ten months to construct includes one covered court; one coliseum; four open courts; an international standard swimming pool; and an 800-seating capacity grandstand.

Ibba, in his message during the ceremony, said that the sports center sets into motion a myriad of other “big” projects envisioned for the development of the town.

Just in time for said athletic competition, the town also unveiled a 39-bed capacity Bataraza District Hospital.

The district hospital in barangay Maranggas is now open to the public but will be fully operational by January 2020.

This is where your taxes go

Acting municipal treasurer Romana Bermudez said that the companies’ [RTNMC and CBNC] payment on real property and business taxes has a “huge impact” on the economic growth of the town.

She said that mining companies inside the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) currently pay five percent for gross income tax. Out of the five percent, three percent directly goes to national government while the remaining two percent goes to LGU through national wealth share.

Based on municipal treasurer’s record, in 2019, RTNMC has already paid P10 million for real property tax and P33 million for its business tax. The same record also showed that from 2016 to 2018, RTNMC paid P31 million for its real property tax and P86 million for its business tax.

Responsible together

Community relations manager Bong Dela Rosa said that responsible mining is possible citing the different development programs they provided and will continuously provide for the town.

“People can witness kung ano yung ginagawa namin. We have social development, education and scholarships, infrastructure, and health programs na para sa lahat,” he said.

Dela Rosa said in a myopic view, mining has always been scrutinized for its opportunistic nature. But in the case of RTNMC and CBNC, he said mining and community development can co-exist.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.