Advance payment of real estate taxes in Philippines

SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet, Inc. (SNAP-Benguet) remitted P 61.2 million to the local government of Bokod, Benguet as advance payment of real estate taxes for the rehabilitated electro-mechanical equipment of the 105-MW Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant (HEPP).

SNAP-Benguet’s president and chief executive Emmanuel V. Rubio turned over the ceremonial check representing P61,260,311.52 due in 2012 to mark the actual payment to Benguet Governor Nestor B. Fongwan, in a ceremony held on Thursday at the Provincial Capitol.

Benguet Vice Governor Crescencio C. Pacalso, Bokod Mayor Mauricio T. Macay and Bokod Vice Mayor Reynaldo B. Tello, Jr. and members of the municipal board witnessed for the local government while SNAP-Benguet chief finance officer Eleanor Blomdahl and Vice President for Corporate Services Atty. Michael Hosillos represented the hydroelectric power firm.

Fongwan thanked SNAP-Benguet “for setting a good example in paying the real property tax of Ambuklao in advance so that the local governments benefit early on the re-operation of Ambuklao.” He also noted that SNAP had been a good taxpayer in Benguet, contributing to the development of its communities.

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 said.

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 US$ 325 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.

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