By LITO RULONA
VICE Mayor Joaquin Rainier Uy has tasked three city council committees to look into the non-issuance of permits to quarry because of delays in the Mines and Geosciences Bureau as officials raised concerns that this has resulted in a dip in city hall revenues.
The city council panels given the task were the committees on trade, commerce and industry, ways and means, and environment and natural resources.
Councilor Zaldy Ocon chairs the environment committee while Councilor George Goking chairsthe remaining two committees.
Uy said the three committees would need to meet with MGB regional director Rex Monsanto to see what the problem was and in an effort to strike a balance, pointing out that the non-issuance of quarrying permits was hurting city hall collections.
“From several millions, it went down to only P700 thousand,” he said.
Uy cited Bukidnon that generate revenues of some P20 million a month out of quarrying fees.
The move was in response to Councilor Enrico Salcedo’s claim that many failed to renew their permits because of problems in the MGB.
“Businessman have been following up their applications before the MGB. Fees were paid as required by the DENR. They have complied with all the necessary documents needed for renewal,” said Salcedo.
He said he learned from the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office that the problem could be traced to MGB.
Salcedo said the local government has been deprived of income which it could have collected through business permits and delivery receipts for quarrying operations, including sand and gravel hauling.
He said Clenro data showed that city hall’s revenues from these operations plunged from January to August, this year.
“Clenro only collected less than P700 thousand despite the sprouting construction projects in the business areas of the city. Nagkabibo ang construction around the city, and then mao ra kana ang collection,” Salcedo said.
But Councilor Nadya Elipe said those engaging in quarrying operations should be identified first even as she pointed out that complaints from villagers may have caused the delays in the MGB.
Elipe said the trucks used in the quarryings were also damaging the city’s roads in outlying villages, and this could also be a factor.