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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        14  February 2011

Philippines considers more mining perks

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THE Board of Investments (BOI) is considering additional perks for the mining industry by making it a priority investment area in this year's incentives plan.

Efren Lea?o, BOI executive director, said the agency may place mining under the Preferred Activities List of the 2011 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) to generate more investments in the sector.

Mining has been included in the Mandatory List of the annual IPP as provided for under Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, covering the exploration and development of mineral resources, mining, quarrying and processing of metallic and non-metallic minerals. Projects that register under RA 7942, in general, are not entitled to income tax holiday (ITH). Lea?o told The Manila Times that once included in this year's Preferred Activities List, mining investments may avail of ITH, subject to the general and specific guidelines of the 2011 IPP to be drafted by the BOI.

Considered a mineral-rich country, almost a third of the Philippines' total land area is estimated to hold mineral resources.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources had said mining investments from 2003 to 2009 totaled $2.8 billion. The government is aiming for mining investments to hit $13.5 billion by 2013.

However, investors have been deterred by difficulty in dealing with communities hosting mines and with local government units (LGUs) that issue regulations in conflict with national laws. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last week said it will push for a legislated magna carta for investors and the establishment of economic zones for domestic manufacturers to shield investors, especially in the mining sector, from "unfriendly" LGUs.

Mining is among the DTI's key growth industries, which also include agriculture, semiconductor and electronics, housing, information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) and tourism.

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