President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed a preference for collecting value-added taxes from the exportation of partially processed ore instead of hiking mining taxes to generate more revenues.
Marcos said as a matter of policy, the county’s natural resource should be viewed as “a treasure which could help the Philippines a great deal.”
“We must ensure that practices we see in mining operations are environmentally neutral, although that has not necessarily been the case as we are all aware of,” he said in a press briefing Monday.
“I don’t believe that we cannot monitor and regulate the mining industry for it to be efficient and clean,” he added at the BBM campaign headquarters in Mandaluyong City.
As to proposals to increase mining taxes, Marcos said he will have to discuss it first with his economic team.
“We are trying to address that with more value-added… What we are trying to achieve is to decrease the export of raw ore. We could export partially processed ore instead so there is value-added,” he said.
“As to the fiscal measures needed, we haven’t decided on that yet and what levels those will be,” Marcos said.
In December last year, the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources lifted a four-year ban on open-pit mining.
In a joint report this month by the economic team of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte, the officials pushed for the revival of the mining industry to generate more revenues and jobs.
“A simple input-output analysis done as part of the phase-one review showed that mining and quarrying contributed significantly to the regional gross domestic product (GDP) in regions where there are mining operations,” read the joint report of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the DENR, the Department of Finance (DOF), and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).
In January, Marcos said he is open to allowing “sustainable” mining to operate in the country even as he expressed reservations toward open-pit mining.
“We have a lot of natural resources in the Philippines. We should, especially in these difficult times, take advantage of that. However, we have seen some of the disasters that have happened when it comes to mining, we need to really avoid those,” he said during the campaign period.
“When it comes to open-pit mining, I think I’m a bit wary about that because it is very difficult to control, and the pollution that’s caused by open-pit mining, the leeching that occurs in open-pit mining, there are many occurrences where even the mine has been closed, they have covered it up, they have planted trees, built houses on it, then the poison comes out.”
Meanwhile, Marcos said he will complete the members of his incoming Cabinet before his inauguration on June 30.
“The shortlists are getting shorter. If we started with 10 names, a dozen names, we are down to maybe three or two in each of those departments,” he said.
As for his Health Secretary, Marcos said he may already announce his nominee “within the next week or so.”