7 Pampanga towns to receive share in quarry funds

7 Pampanga towns to receive share in quarry funds
By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk
Last updated 06:41am (Mla time) 07/18/2007

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Pampanga Gov. Eddie Panlilio will give on Friday half of the P11.6 million collected from quarry taxes from July 2-13 to seven sand-rich towns and villages in the province.


Panlilio said he advanced the schedule of distribution of quarry revenues to July 20, instead of July 30, because the revenues collected had already reached a considerable amount.


Provincial administrator Vivian Dabu said they have yet to determine how much the provincial government, the towns of Bacolor, Lubao, Sta. Rita, Porac, Floridablanca, Mabalacat and Mexico, and their respective villages would get from the P5.8-million revenue that would be released.


The amount was computed at half of the P300 tax imposed on every truckload of sand.


A Local Government Code provision and an ordinance from the provincial board set the sharing of quarry revenues on a 30-30-40 percent basis for the province, towns and barangays.


Dabu said the remaining P5.8 million would be retained by the provincial capitol to cover administrative costs.


Some mayors have clamored to use the P300, not P150, as base amount for the sharing.


The mayors have yet to formalize that recommendation in a resolution, however, Dabu told reporters.


In a separate interview, Panlilio said he would follow the present sharing scheme until the provincial board agrees to the proposal of the mayors.


He said the provincial government would also draw funds from its administrative share to support social services in 13 towns where there is no quarry industry.


“Quarry operations have been giving the government a lot of resources,” Panlilio said.


In collecting P11.6 million in 10 days, the Panlilio administration is likely to surpass the P29.1 million collected by the administration of former Gov. Mark Lapid for 2006, an Inquirer review of quarry income showed.


Lapid and his father, Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid, are in the United States and could not be reached for comment on why quarry revenues in their time as governors reached only P10 to P30 million annually in the last six years.


The Lapids have not sent word either through their representatives.


Vice Gov. Joseller Guiao, who has kept a close watch on alleged quarry irregularities, said he would continue pursuing the graft case against the younger Lapid and provincial treasurer Vergel Yabut.


Guiao noted a “discrepancy” of P337 million between the collections of the Natural Resources Development Corp. from 1999 to 2001 and the elder Lapid’s administration from 2002 to 2004.


In the case he filed at the Office of the Ombudsman in March, Guiao said between P600 million and P1 billion might have been lost to graft from 2004 to the first two months of 2007 under the younger Lapid’s administration.


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