>> Tuesday, December 27, 2011
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – More development projects that will have a big impact in uplifting the living condition of people in the host communities will be implemented by both the provincial government of Benguet and the municipal government of Bokod following the remittance of more than P61.2 million as advance payment of real property taxes for the rehabilitated electro-mechanical equipment of the 105-MW Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant based in Bokod town, approximately 36 kilometers away from Baguio City.
SNAP-Benguet’s president and chief executive officer Emmanuel V. Rubio turned over the ceremonial check representing PhP61,260,311.52 due in 2012 to mark the actual payment to Gov. Nestor B. Fongwan in a ceremony at the Provincial Capitol.
Benguet Vice Gov. Crescencio C. Pacalso, Bokod Mayor Mauricio T. Macay and Bokod Vice Mayor Reynaldo B. Tello, Jr. and members of the municipal council witnessed for the local government while SNAP-Benguet Chief Financial Officer Eleanor Blomdahl and Vice President for Corporate Services Michael Hosillos, a lawyer, represented the hydroelectric power firm.
“SNAP had been a good taxpayer over the past several years, We are elated that the company has set an example for paying their real property taxes on time so that the provincial and municipal government will be able to use the funds for the development of the different communities, especially the host communities,” Fongwan said , adding that 50 percent of the paid taxes will be equally divided by the provincial and municipal school boards to bankroll their respective priority education projects.
“Pursuant to the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991, Fongwan explained the remaining 50 percent of the paid taxes will be divided where the province will get P35 percent, the municipality will be getting a share of 45 percent while the host barangay will be receiving 20 percent.
Rubio noted that since Ambuklao’s re-operation six months ago, its contribution to the province and municipality has already been “significant.” “As we continue to operate the Ambuklao and Binga HEPPs, we can work together to make a difference in the lives of the people in areas where we operate,” Rubio added.
SNAP-Benguet took over the Ambuklao HEPP along with the 100-MW Binga HEPP in 2008 following a successful bid for the twin plants in the amount of USD325 million through the government’s power sector privatization program.
In the same year, it set to work rehabilitating and upgrading the then decommissioned 75-MW Ambuklao HEPP which came back on-line in June of this year. The plant had been on shut-down since 1999 as a result of technical problems and siltation brought about by the 1990 Luzon earthquake.
The re-operation of the Ambuklao facility in 2011 enabled Bokod to collect substantial real property taxes, a source of revenue not available to the municipality since Ambuklao’s shut-down in 1999. It brings renewed economic and development opportunities for the host province of Benguet, host municipality of Bokod, and host barangays Ambuklao and Tikey through the real property tax, National Wealth Tax, and access to financial benefits under applicable laws such as Energy Regulation No. 1-94 providing benefits to host communities. The plant also has programs for its host indigenous peoples’ community, the Shakilan ni Ikulos Peoples’ Organization.
“We now could implement our priority development projects in depressed villages of our town because of our added revenue with the re-operation of the Ambuklao dam. Our constituents will now have better access to economic activities that will surely help improve their lives and help Bokod become a well-developed town in the future,” Mayor Mauricio Macai said after the turnover of the payment to the provincial and municipal officials.