Siquijor Representative Ramon “Rav” Rocamora called for the early deliberation and passage of House Bill No. 4116 or the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) Law which will mandate companies involved in mining, oil, gas and coal industries to undergo regular auditing and review. According to Rocamora the law will allow the public to see the full picture on how mining resources are used and whether mining activities are benefitting the local communities, and its impact.
“The EITI already exists as a voluntary mechanism for mining firms to take part in. What we want to do is to make it mandatory to ensure that the public is informed of the effects of mining with accurate data,” according to Rocamora.
“With this kind of mechanism, we can immediately avert any potential deleterious effect that a mining operation will have on the environment and the local community,” he added.
Under the law, a multi-stakeholder group composed of representatives from government agencies (including one each from both Houses of Congress), 5 representatives from the extractive industries, 5 representatives from the Civil Society Organizations, and one representative from the Indigenous People’s sector will be in charge of the PH-EITI. There will be regional and provincial formation of the EITI where mining companies operate.
“As much as possible, we want a balanced and well represented body to lead this initiative. This is to prevent any possible conflict of interest and ensure a broad support for this undertaking,” Rocamora stressed.
The PH-EITI Law also requires an annual report which will cover the revenue generated from the extractive industries such as payment to the national government and local government units. It will also include public disclosure of all concessions, contracts, and agreements and joint ventures entered into by the government. It will also include a CSO assessment of the EITI process itself.
“If enacted, this will help current efforts by the government led by the DENR in monitoring mining companies to ensure that they do not harm the environment and that communities really benefit from their operations. Moreover, it will lead to greater citizen’s participation and involvement in government mining policy because they will have a complete picture of the how a particular company operates,” Rocamora added.