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Ilocos Norte suspends quarrying to stop tax leakages

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Ilocos Norte has put on hold the grant of quarry permits until members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan finalize an ordinance calling for its regulation.

Provincial board member Vicentito Lazo said Friday that as one of the top local revenue sources in the province, there was a need to put more teeth to old quarry ordinance to prevent theft of these limited resources.

Lazo said the total amount of quarry revenue collections has decreased from P14 million in 2010 to P6.2 million in 2016.

The decreasing collections from quarry operations was questionable in view of the increasing number multi-billion infrastructure projects funded by the Department of Public Works and Highways, Lazo said.

Based on the list of DPWH projects in Ilocos Norte, P3 billion has been downloaded, excluding privately-funded infrastructure projects.

“Based on the assessed volume of sand and gravel needed for these construction projects, it is a far cry from what is being paid to the coffers of the government,” Lazo lamented.

While finalizing the amendments of the quarry ordinance, applications for renewal of quarry permits including new applications were temporarily stopped.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has also requested the Provincial Quarry Council to provide a complete list of permit holders as well as the dates their permits were approved and its expiration. (PNA)

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