The Philippines is preparing a set of guidelines that will ensure taxes paid by mining companies will not be lost to corruption and instead benefit communities hosting their mines, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
The national government stands firm in its position that local laws banning open-pit mining run counter to the national mining law, and it was ready to intervene if needed to overrule local regulations, said Local governments Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“There is a proposal to come up with guidelines on how the money will be spent. We now have a draft… (covering) the general parameters,” Robredo told Reuters in a phone interview.
The guidelines aim to uphold the autonomy of local government units, but would seek to make officials accountable for any wrongdoings, he said.
Robredo said he was aware of concerns and issues against mining and supports an industry recommendation that taxes on minerals be directly remitted to local governments.
The industry group Chamber of Mines of the Philippines has said remittance to local governments of mining taxes from the national treasury takes two to three years, delaying the benefits to rural areas and fuelling resistance to mining by local officials and lobby groups.