BK Mindanao conducted a seminar-workshop last October 01, 2015 which was attended by more than 50 participants coming various sectors in the municipality of Tubay, Agusan del Norte.
The forum was aimed at discussing environmental monitoring, transparency and accountability in the extractive industry and issues in relation to San Roque Metal Incorporated (SRMI).
Former Mayor Sadeka Tomaneng, who is now a legislative staff of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, aired concerns such SRMI’s reluctance to pay its dues to the local government unit. She revealed that the mining company owes them more than P106 million which accumulated from the time the mining company started operating. This has led even the provincial government to issue an ordinance ordering the company to pay its dues to no avail. The company has even sued the LGU questioning the fees levied to them such as environmental user’s tax and business tax which is enshrined in their local revenue code. The municipal council later negotiated with SRMI. Under the agreement, the company will withdraw its case against the LGU but pay only P6 million of the supposed P72 million it owes.
According to Barangay Captain Raquim Cuyos, the political leverage of the company has also allowed it to be opaque in its operations. He cited the case of Mining Monitoring Team secretariat which are composed of the company’s personnel among other issues.
Datu Sagunde III Anghel-Sarona, an IP leader in the area, also said that the recipient of the IP royalty fee is illegitimate and a creation of the company. Though they have brought up the issue to the NCIP, the agency, according to him, remains silent.
The activity ended with the creation of an ad hoc team named Tubay Transparency Team. The team shall be composed of members coming from different sectors and will be the lead in coordinating with Bantay Kita.