PRESS RELEASE: BK urges PH EITI multi-stakeholder group to keep their commitments towards resource management
On October 25, the Philippines hosted the 38th International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Board Meeting. The Philippines was commended by the EITI International Board for being the first country to achieve the satisfactory progress against the EITI Standard.
EITI is a global standard of governance for oil, gas, and mineral resources.
Bantay Kita (BK), a nationwide coalition of organizations that advocates for transparency and accountability in the extractive industry, lauds the Philippine EITI in its compliance to the Standard.
“We recognize all efforts and participation of the PH-EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group and Secretariat in pursuing improved natural resource governance. It has given access to data and documents that were previously unavailable to the public,” said Tina Pimentel, National Coordinator of Bantay Kita
The Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, as member of the PH-EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group also recognized the achievement: "EITI has opened an avenue for stakeholders to participate in policy proposals formulation and to keep track of government's progress in implementing reforms. However, the reconciliation and transparency initiative of EITI, as proven effective in improving government systems on extractive industries, should be institutionalized and supported by a concrete legal framework that Congress may enact the soonest possible."
BK notes that advances in natural resource management rooted in the PH-EITI MSG recommendations have been made. This illustrates the PH-EITI’s significance in advancing improved governance in the extractive industry. However, BK acknowledges that more remains to be done for EITI to remain relevant.
Augusto Blanco, Tribal Leader of Kaimunan Lumad sang Compostela said, “EITI can also be a powerful venue for local development moving beyond revenue transparency. It can pursue enhanced environmental and social monitoring to provide a sound basis to discern the full impact of resource extraction.”
He also noted, “Subnational EITI MSGs can be a local platform for constructive engagement of concerned stakeholders (government, civil society, indigenous peoples, and industry) in resource management to ensure that it contributes to sustainable development. EITI also enhances further the empowerment of the indigenous people in the the exercise of their FPIC and sustainable management of their ancestral domains.”
BK urges all members of the PH-EITI MSG, which includes government, industry, and civil society representatives, to keep their commitments and continue forging forward towards improved resource management.
Bantay Kita is a coalition of over 80 organizations nationwide with 60 network affiliates, including Indigenous Peoples Organizations, working towards improved governance of extractive industries. In line with our objectives, we support proposals that amplify the right of communities to equitable revenue share, and safeguard environment and the well-being of people from the detrimental effects of mining operations.
HB 5674 entitled as “An Act Requiring Legislative Franchise as a Pre-Requisite to the Issuance of a Mineral Agreement or Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement“ and HB 6259 otherwise known as “An Act Amending Certain Portions of Republic Act No. 7942 by Prohibiting Mining in Watershed, Requiring a Legislative Franchise for Mining Operations and for other Purposes” propose objectives that are aligned with Bantay Kita’s aspiration to enhance natural resource governance in support of sustainable development
We support the bills objectives as it promotes environmental protection and economic growth. We also commend legislators for pushing greater transparency and accountability in the extractive industries, as well as increased scrutiny of proposed mining operations.
The Philippines is recognized as one of the most mineralized countries in the world. Bantay Kita agrees that proceeds from resource extraction can contribute to economic growth and social development with improved governance and fiscal reforms. We recognize legislators as important stakeholders in managing our country’s natural resources. They should be involved in ensuring that investments made will incur the most benefits for the Filipinos.
We concur with Congress that enhanced evaluation is required to understand the full impact of a mining operation, and serve as a basis for an informed recommendation. In this light, Bantay Kita suggests that Congress directs the executive branch to establish technical parameters for a scientifically proven assessment of mineral potential of an area that would be undertaken along with an appraisal of the economic, social, and environmental impacts an extractive activity will generate. Beyond considering the present and mid-term impacts, we urge Congress to also include the effect of resource extraction on climate change and an area’s vulnerability.
Aside from a more comprehensive data-driven examination of the potential impact of mining operations, Congress may also instruct the executive branch to consider and compare other viable investments in the area. This will be helpful in determining the best option for a site.
We recommend expanding and institutionalizing existing initiatives such as the PH-EITI (Philippine Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative) which is a global standard for transparency of the extractive sector. A national multi-stakeholder group including the government, civil society, and the industry decides how EITI process should work. Recently, the Philippines has been recognized as the first country to achieve satisfactory progress against the EITI standard. A proposal institutionalizing Ph-EITI (H.B. 4116) is pending in Congress. It promotes revenue and contract transparency, accessibility of data and information, and genuine participation of relevant stakeholders in resource governance. Moreover, it ensures oversight in all stages of mine life.
Bantay Kita also advocates for fiscal reforms in mining. To date, taxes, which form the bulk of proceeds received from resource extraction, contributes insignificantly to the economy. The 2016 Ph-EITI Report states that government collected P11.1B from large scale metallic mines. This is 1.1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 0.6% of total government revenues. This may be attributed to the low tax rates and unsuitable tax instruments applied to mining. Moreover, fiscal incentives are also enjoyed by mining companies. We urge Congress to review the current mining fiscal regime and consider modifications that would provide the country, and the communities where mining companies operate, a fair share.
In conclusion, Bantay Kita reiterates its support for proposals to improve natural resource governance that maximize benefits and minimizes losses for the present and future generations.
Bantay Kita commends the Philippine EITI’s compliance to the EITI Standards. Being the first country to achieve the satisfactory progress against the EITI Standard is a milestone. We recognize all efforts and participation of the PH-EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group and Secretariat in pursuing improved natural resource governance.
We acknowledge positive strides towards transparency through the implementation of EITI in the Philippines. It has given access to data and documents that were previously unavailable to the public. It also increased awareness and surfaced questions for public debate and policy recommendations for further advancement of natural resource governance in the Philippines. We have observed enhancement of processes rooted in the PH-EITI MSG recommendations. This illustrates the PH-EITI’s significance in advancing improved governance of the industry.
However, more needs to be done. For EITI to remain relevant, it can pursue enhanced environmental and social monitoring to provide a sound basis to discern the full impact of resource extraction. EITI can also be a powerful venue for local development moving beyond revenue transparency. Subnational EITI MSGs can be a local platform for constructive engagement of concerned stakeholders (government, civil society, indigenous peoples, and industry) in resource management to ensure that it contributes to sustainable development. Empowerment and inclusivity of local stakeholders are significant to local natural resource governance.
We urge all members of the PH-EITI MSG to keep their commitments and continue forging forward for improved resource management. For reporting entities, we call for greater disclosure of timely, comprehensive, disaggregated, relevant data that can contribute to analysis for reforms. To the industry, we enjoin the participation of additional large scale metallic mining companies. We welcome the participation of non-metallic large scale mines. We demand that Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, the only material coal company to participate in EITI; it has not done so. To regulatory agencies, we appeal that they exercise your function over the industry’s they oversee. For the DENR, we expect the Department to carry its mandate to implement DAO 2017-07, which compels the participation of all mining contractors in EITI. We appeal to government entities to accelerate the pace of governance reforms.
May PH-EITI remain relevant and achieve its objective of improving natural resource governance so that proceeds from extractives may benefit all. In this light, we also urge the passage of the institutionalization of EITI.