Mining chamber to argue revenue-sharing issue in SC

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The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines wants the Supreme Court to nullify a petition challenging the constitutionality of the revenue-sharing provisions of the Mining Act

STOP THE PETITION. The mining chamber wants the Supreme Court to nullify the petition of a group questioning the constitutionality of the Mining Act. File photo from Newsbreak

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) to intervene in a petition challenging the constitutionality of the revenue-sharing provisions of the Mining Act of 1995.

In a statement on Thursday, June 27, the chamber said it will present its arguments before the Supreme Court in August.

“We appreciate the Supreme Court’s decision to once again allow COMP to intervene, just as it did in 2004 during the La Bugal debates,” the Chamber said, referring to the landmark case, La Bugal-B’laan vs. Ramos, which the SC resolved in 2004.

The chamber has yet to receive a copy of the resolution but chamber spokesman Jimbo Gulle said SC spokesman Theodore Te has informed them about it already.

“According to Atty. Te, the SC has received our motion and thus granted our request to participate in the hearings on behalf of the respondents, some of which are members of COMP,” Gulle said.

The chamber filed the motion for intervention to support its members who were named respondents in the petition filed by former Akbayan Rep Risa Hontiveros and others in March 2008.

Among the respondents were the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI), OceanaGold (Philippines) Inc., TVI Resources and Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD), and Asiaticus Mining Corporation (AMCOR).

SMI, OceanaGold, TVIRD, and AMCOR are members of the mining chamber, an association of exploration, mining, mineral processing, quarrying, cement, oil and gas, and service industries, as well as professional associations.

Revenue sharing scheme

In their petition, Hontiveros’ group argued that the revenue sharing provisions of the Mining Act — Sections 80 and 81 — puts the country at a disadvantage.

Sec. 80 stipulates that the government share in mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) is limited to excise taxes.

Sec. 81, on the other hand, limits the government’s share in Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) to taxes, fees and royalties.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and former Supreme Court Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza represented the chamber and argued that the SC had already decided that the Mining Act is constitutional.

Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban penned that decision in 2004.

Nullify petition

The chamber wants the SC to nullify former Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros’ group’s petition.

“There is no compelling reason for the high tribunal to abandon its previous ruling,” the chamber said in its motion to intervene.

It stressed that about P173 billion (about US$4 billion) in mining investments have been poured into the country since 2004 following the high court’s ruling.

The group noted that those investments include billions of pesos invested in the countryside. It said overturning the ruling will lead to investor confidence. –

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