Bantay Kita, a governance and fiscal reform coalition, lauds Senator Joel Villanueva for filing Senate Resolution No. 612 directing the Committee on Public Information to conduct an inquiry on beneficial owners of mining, oil, gas, and coal companies. By doing so, it could be determined if companies abide by foreign ownership restrictions. A similar issue was raised about Rappler, an online news network, for allegedly violating the equity restrictions imposed by the Constitution on mass media ownership.
According to Bantay Kita Coordinator Tina Pimentel, “The Resolution is timely since the Philippines, as a participating country in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), is required to establish a Public Beneficial Ownership Registry for extractive entities by 2020.”
EITI is a global standard of openness in mining, coal, oil and gas. The Initiative asserts that improved governance will ensure that proceeds from resource extraction will contribute to economic growth and social development. The Philippines expressed its commitment to join the EITI in 2012 through Executive Order 79.
According to Senate Resolution 612, the proposed Public Beneficial Ownership Registry will not only identify individuals who ultimately control extractive companies but will also disclose their nationalities. This will help determine if entities abide by prescribed ownership restrictions. The said Registry will also aid in increasing trust and accountability, improving investment climate, and preventing corruption, among others.
“As government looks for ways to increase taxes to support initiatives like the Build, Build, Build program, ownership disclosure will make it easier to track tax evaders. This can potentially make tax administration easier and raise collection.” Pimentel added.