House Bill seeks to authorize city, municipal mayors to approve extraction, quarrying permits

Published August 12, 2019, 7:09 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn S. Limkaichong is proposing to empower the city and municipal mayors to issue permits to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources.

Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

She filed House Bill 748 to amend Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 to transfer the power to issue permits to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources from the provincial governors to the mayors of municipalities and cities.

“The mayors of other component cities and mayors of municipalities are excluded from the decision-making process, although these local government units have fewer sources of revenue and bear much burden of the detrimental environment impact of quarrying activities,” Limkaichong said.

She explained that currently, the law grants only to the provincial governors, mayors of independent component cities and mayors of highly urbanized cities the power to issue permits to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources in their respective jurisdictions.

“The Sangguniang Bayan and Sangguniang Panlungsod can perform a better function of screening and regulating quarrying activities because they oversee fewer applicants of licenses and are closer to the quarrying sites. Indeed, the existence of such an unfair balance of benefits and risks among the LGUs as well as the need for better oversight on quarrying activities call for a remedy that is consistent with the ideals of decentralization and local autonomy,” she said.

Limkaichong said her bill promotes a more rational distribution of the proceeds from and authority over the exploitation and utilization of natural resources, particularly, quarry resource.

“It also enhances the empowerment of local government at the level of cities and municipalities,” she said.

House Bill 748 specifically deletes Section 138 of RA 7160 which grants the provinces the power to issue permits to extract and to tax sand, gravel and other quarry resources, she explained.

It also adds a new section to be denominated as Section 146-A, which will transfer the power to tax sand, gravel and other quarry resources to municipalities, the Negros Oriental lawmaker said.

“The same power is likewise transferred to cities by adding another section to be denominated as Section 151-A, she added.

HB 748 also increases the share in the proceeds of the tax on sand, gravel and quarry resources of the cities and municipalities from the current 30 percent to 60 percent.

“This measure aims to increase the capabilities and resources of these LGUs while upholding the principles of checks and balances and transparency in local government transactions,” Limkaichong said.

 
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