THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) is studying a proposal to raise the excise tax in the mining sector, saying an increase should not be uniform and that each commodity such as gold, nickel and copper should have its own tax adjustment. According to MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano, there have been debates on the proposal. “In Congress, there’s a pending bill on increasing the fiscal regime. In the industry, they have been talking about this too. In the MGB, we also have our own discussion,” Moncano told reporters at the sidelines of the recently concluded 64th Annual National Mine Safety and Safety Conference in Baguio City. Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said his agency is considering to increase the excise tax in mining from 2 percent to 5 percent. A bill that seeks to compel mining companies to give the government 10 percent of their annual gross revenues or 55 percent is pending in Congress. House Bill 5367 argues that the government is “the owner of the minerals” and that the public should have a fair share from the mining revenues. The bill would also pave the way for the lifting of Executive Order 79, which bans the approval of new mining projects in the country.