The Provinces of Isabela and Ifugao received additional Real Property Tax payments from SN Aboitiz Power-Magat, Inc. (SNAP-Magat) for the 360-MW Magat hydroelectric power plant as a result of the compromise agreement among the parties that was recently approved by the Regional Trial Court Branch 36 of Santiago, putting an end to the tax case that stemmed from a boundary issue between the two provinces since 2008.
SNAP-Magat turned over additional real property taxes worth PhP30.3 million to Isabela and PhP 42.1 million to Ifugao pursuant to a compromise agreement. The amounts cover the difference between actual payments made in 2011 and 2012 and the court-approved compromise amounts. The tax payments are the highest amounts of real property tax payments received by the two provinces to date.
The compromise agreement was entered into in August 2011 and was approved by the court almost a year later after the provincial boards of Isabela and Ifugao ratified it. Succeeding tax payments will be pursuant to the provisions of the compromise agreement.
The turnover ceremony, held on 5 September 2012 at the Magat Dam View Deck, was attended by SNAP-Magat executives led by Vice President Michael Bon C. Hosillos, local government representatives led by Ifugao Governor Eugene Balitang and Isabela Provincial Board Member Atty. Karen Abuan. Also present are Mayor Wilfredo Tabag of Ramon, Isabela and Mayor Glenn Prudenciano of Alfonso Lista, Ifugao, hosts municipalities to the Magat plant.
In a statement by SNAP-Magat President and CEO Emmanuel Rubio, he thanked the two provinces for striving to resolve the tax dispute between them, and to move forward with its strategic partnership with SNAP-Magat.
“As a responsible corporate citizen, SNAP has always been vigilant about complying with all our tax and regulatory obligations” Mr. Rubio said. “Through the increased real property tax, we hope to bring renewed growth and development to our host communities, and continue to make a difference in the lives of Isabelinos and Ifugaos, to whom these financial benefits and opportunities should redound. We also hope that as our business continues to expand, we can continue to contribute to the development of Isabela and Ifugao.” Mr. Rubio added.
Atty. Karen Abuan, representing the Province of Isabela, said that the payment of increased real property taxes and the compromise agreement is through the collective efforts of the provinces of Isabela and Ifugao, and SNAP-Magat to increase the tax revenues of the provinces so it can deliver different projects that will address the needs of their constituents. “We are looking forward to a stronger partnership with SNAP-Magat for the promotion of the welfare of our provinces, and we thank SN Aboitiz for being a partner for the realization of the vision of our province” Atty. Abuan said.
Governor Eugene Balitang of Ifugao stressed the deeper meaning of the payment of additional taxes, which is the closure of the long standing issue between the provinces of Isabela and Ifugao on the real property tax.
He added that “hereon we can move forward in doing business together and, hand and hand, as good neighbors, help our constituents. Today we have shown our province mates in Isabela and Ifugao that conflicts can be resolved, that it can be done. If we can do business with SN Aboitiz, we can do it with the rest of the businesses and investors in the province of Ifugao.”
Aside from real property taxes, SNAP-Magat is also mandated under Energy Regulation (ER) 1-94 to remit to its host communities, through the Department of Energy, one centavo per kilowatt-hour of the electricity sales of the Magat plant for electrification, livelihood and reforestation projects. SNAP-Magat also remits the share in the National Wealth Tax of the host provinces, municipalities and barangays to the local governments.
Under the Corporate Social Responsibility program of the company, a voluntary fund is also set aside for development projects in communities hosting the Magat plant. Since 2007, 71 development projects were implemented in Ifugao and 53 projects were implemented in Isabela.
SN Aboitiz Power-Magat officials are joined by members of the provincial and local governments of Ifugao and Isabela following the turnover of real property taxes last September 5 at the Carlos Salazar View Deck in Ramon, Isabela.
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Mike Hosillos/ Corporate Services