SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya: An Australian mining firm operating in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya was awarded as the top taxpaying partner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for paying its nine-digit tax obligations.
OceanaGold (Philippines) Inc. (OGPI) was awarded by the BIR Revenue District (RDO) 14 for paying P118.8 million in taxes since it started its commercial operation in April of last year after nearly 20 years of exploration.
Christopher Capistrano, OGPI Deputy General Manager for Government Affairs, received a Plaque of Recognition for OGPI with other taxpayers who were also recognized during the 2014 Tax Campaign Kick-Off held at Highlander Hotel here on February 20.
Lawyer Maria Isabel Utit, Assistant Revenue District Officer here, said the taxes paid by OGPI include “excise tax and withholding tax on compensation,” the excise tax of which was paid “under protest.”
BIR officials said OGPI’s tax payments have greatly contributed to RDO 14 in exceeding its 2013 collection making it as the 2013 Top Collection Performer in the Cagayan Valley region.
“The collection of taxes from the mining industries in Nueva Vizcaya has contributed to a 45-percent growth rate to their collection,” Utit said.
She said however that because of the large amount that the company has paid in taxes, OGPI has been included in the Large Taxpayers Service (LTS) allowing the company to pay directly to their national office.
Meanwhile, Utit said OGPI has filed a surety bond of P214.5 million with the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) “to secure the payment of excise tax in connection with the case filed by the mining firm protesting the imposition of the excise tax.”
“[OcenaGold] did not pay anymore excise tax after the apprehension by the province [of Nueva Vizcaya]of the trucks in the last week of June 2013 up to this time [and]instead, they posted the surety bond,” she said.
Utit also explained that the local government unit (LGU) shares 40 percent of the excise tax collected by the BIR on quarrying and mining activities; this is in addition to the LGU’s internal revenue allotment (IRA) divided as follows: 20 percent to the province, 45 percent to the municipality and 35 percent to the barangay.
Besides taxes paid to the BIR, the company has demonstrated its commitment as a responsible miner by maintaining a mutually beneficial partnership with its host communities in the implementation of its Social Development Management Program (SDMP) with an estimated P43-million various community development projects annually.
The SDMP covers seven mountain villages of Kasibu town in Nueva Vizcaya and three villages of Cabarroguis town in Quirino province.
OGPI officials said the company has also spent several millions of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds for farm-to-market roads, classrooms, teachers, medical missions, livelihood projects and scholarship grants.
OGPI is a subsidiary of the Melbourne-based OceanaGold Corp., which is contracted by the national government to undertake its multimillion Didipio Copper-Gold Project located in the mountain village of Didipio, which lies along the border of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya.
The Didipio Community Development Corp. (DiCorp), an OGPI contractor, is also one of the top BIR partners awarded during the said tax campaign kick-off.
DiCorp also received a Plaque of Appreciation for the corporation, now the largest private employer in Nueva Vizcaya after OGPI and Delta Earthmoving, the latter of which is also an OGPI contractor.
OGPI officials said DiCorp was established in 2011 with over 300 employees currently assigned in its different departments and whose shareholders are approximately 400 residents of Didipio who have lived in the community for more than 10 years.
Capistrano said OGPI has also awarded DiCorp long-term contracts for road maintenance, rubbish collection and recycling, camp catering and employee shuttle buses.
Also awarded as BIR partners include the Agribank, Department of Education, Nueva Vizcaya State University, Department of Public Works and Highways, Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya and Rural Bank of Bayombong.
Marina de Guzman, BIR Regional Director for Cagayan Valley, during the tax campaign kick-off has encouraged corporations, sole proprietorship establishments as well as professionals to pay the “right taxes.”
De Guzman said: “If you will pay the right taxes, then you are for peace and for progress. The taxes you pay are the resources that run the government so that the more taxes we pay, the more help we can share.”