Nueva Vizcaya seeks P91-M tax from mining firm

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BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The provincial government here is pursuing the collection of some P91 million in real property tax (RPT) from a foreign mining firm in the upland village of Didipio in Kasibu town.

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Vice Governor Lambert Galima Jr. on Thursday reiterated its position to push the collection of the RPT, asking officials of OceanaGold (Philippines) Inc. (OGPI) to pay the “long overdue” tax to the province.

OceanGold commenced its commercial operations at the end of the first quarter in 2013 after more than 20 years of exploration in the mountain ranges of Kasibu and Quezon towns in the province.

OGPI is a subsidiary of the Melbourne-based OceanaGold Corporation (OGC), which is contracted by the national government to undertake its multi-million Didipio Copper-Gold Project located in the mountain village of Didipio, which lies along the border of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya provinces.

Provincial officials claimed that OGPI is giving them the “runaround by exhausting all legal remedies to escape payment of its tax obligation to the province.”

But OGPI officials said they have filed an interpleader case for the court to decide to which province the mining firm should pay its RPT.

The provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya have a standing boundary dispute between Cabarroguis town in Quirino and Kasibu town in Nueva Vizcaya particularly in the mineral-rich Didipio village.

“It is saddening and very strange why OGPI would seek a court ruling as to where it would pay its RPT when the firm has been talking with officials of Nueva Vizcaya in the early 1990s seeking legal permits as well as social licenses to operate,” Galima said.

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