(PN File)

Narra mayor Gerandy Danao has pressed anew on the collection of unpaid taxes by Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation (CMDC) and has put pressure on his Sangguniang Bayan to back his stance.

Returning from a 14-month administrative suspension, Danao criticized the failure of the municipal government to enforce the collection of some P90 million in alleged back taxes of the company.

In a press conference Friday, Danao challenged his Sangguniang Bayan to pursue the collection.

“‘Yong sistema nyan sa singilin, lahat ng papel nyan ay binigay na natin sa SB dahil sa tingin ko sila ang mas maganda maningil at titingnan natin kung masisingil nila o hindi,” he said.

- Advertisement -

Danao’s legal counsel, Atty. Edwin Gastanes said that the amount represents unsettled taxes since the Demaala administration.

As part of his duty as local chief executive, Gastanes said that Danao need to act on the matter.

“Noon pa ‘yan kay mayor Lucy [Demaala] na sinisingil ang mining company. Noong si Mayor Danao na ay hindi naman puwede na tulugan niya lang ang sinasabing tamang pagbayad ng buwis sa Narra, dapat ipagpatuloy dahil kung hindi ay kakasuhan naman sya,” he said.

“Mayroon nang usapan doon at panghuling usapan ay bago siya na-suspend na kailangang hingiin ang suporta ng konseho. Alam niyo naman na hindi lang mayor ang kikilos, kailangan in tandem sila, pero kung ang isa ay pupunta ng kaliwa at ang isa ay kakanan, walang mangyayari. Hindi lang naman desisyon ni mayor ‘yon,” Gastanes said.

The mining company had previously filed administrative and criminal complaints against Danao for refusing to issue a mayor’s permit to the company.

READ RELATED STORY: Citinickel files admin, criminal raps against Danao

“Ang nangyari noon d’yan, hindi natin sila binigyan ng pemit dahil sinisingil sila ng LGU at nong pinapuntahan po natin ‘yan para i-inspection ang area ay hindi tayo pinapasok d’yan,” Danao explained.

“Magpapadala ulit tayo ng letter at kung hindi nila asikasuhin yan ay hindi na lang ako ang concern dyan kundi ang taong bayan. [Kung] ayaw pala nila ng tamang proseso ay ilalagay din natin sa tama ang desisyon natin. Wala pa tayong sinasabi na patigilin sila, wala pang desisyon,” he said.

Danao’s spokesperson Jojo Gastanes said that Danao is asking the Sangguniang Bayan to give him the authority to investigate, however, the council filed charges against him.

“Gusto ni mayor is magkaroon ng good negotiations sana ang SB pati siya pero syempre siguro malabong mangyari talaga ‘yan, pero gagawa ng paraan kung pwede mag file sa korte para masingil lang yan gagawin ni Mayor,” he said.

Danao officially assumed office on November 26 after a 14-month suspension imposed by the Provincial Board on September 23, 2020, for grave misconduct and violation of Section 3 (e) and (j) Republic Act No. 3019, gross negligence; and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

Citinickel clarification
In a statement that Citinickel released on November 4 in reference to the investigative story “Puerto Princesa is a cautionary tale as Duterte opens new mining areas” published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), the company mentioned the tax deficiency issue.

Citinickel stated that it has no P94 million tax deficiency for the years 2012 to 2015 because Section 133 of the Local Government Code of 1991 exempted them from paying under “(g) Taxes on business enterprises certified to by the Board of Investments as pioneer or non-pioneer for a period of six (6) and four (4) years, respectively from the date of registration”.

It said the same is also mentioned in the 2006 Municipal Tax Code of Narra under Section 3A.03 or the code for Exemptions.

According to Citinickel, the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987 as amended by Executive Order No. 226 said that the BOI provides incentives to local and foreign investors that venture into businesses that help the Philippine economy.

“Ang Citinickel ay naging BOI registered corporation noong taong 2011, samakatuwid, kami po ay hindi namin kailangang magbayad ng buwis sa lokal na pamahalaan sa mga taong 2011 hanggang 2015,” the company said.

Ang Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation ay nagbabayad ng excise tax ayon sa probisyon ng Republic Act 7942 o Philippine Mining Act of 1995. Maayos na nagbabayad kami mula 2010 hanggang sa kasalukuyan sa National Government, Probinsya ng Palawan, Narra, Sofronio Espanola, San Isidro at iba pang barangay,” Citinickel added.

In total, the company said it had already paid P355,660,018.23, including P46 million to support various projects in Narra and P39 million Sofronio Española.

It said it is its right to file complaints against Danao, whose administration denied them a business permit.

Karapatan naming maghain ng reklamo dahil sa pagtanggi ni Mayor Danao na mag-isyu ng business permit sa Citinickel noong Enero 2020. Nabigyan lang kami ng permit noong Hunyo 2020 ng acting mayor pagkatapos masuspinde si Mayor Danao dahil sa mga sinampang administratibong kaso ng municipal council sa provincial board na grave misconduct, gross negligence, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,” Citinickel further said.

Previous articleEDITORIAL: Revisiting the Palawan energy masterplan
Next articleDOT pushes for 100% vaccination of ‘active’ tourism workers