Blog by Dr. Glenn Pajares, Sectoral Transparency Alliance on Natural Resource Governance in Cebu, Inc. (STANCE)
The subnationalization of the EITI model of governance which creates a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) at the local level and implements the EITI goals and objectives provides more space or avenue for civil society organizations and peoples organizations in mining-affected communities to actively participate in the initiative on transparency and accountability in the extractive sector and natural resource governance in general, making natural resource governance in the country more democratic, participatory, collaborative, and inclusive. It affords the marginalized and the least advantaged members of society like fisherfolk, farmers, women, the elderly, the youth among others the opportunity to speak and be heard and engage government and industry more constructively and peacefully on issues and concerns on the extractives and natural resource governance and work together to address these issues.
In the case of the Province of Cebu, such a model does not exist yet. Existing governance councils, groups, and committees do not focus and specialize on transparency and accountability in the extractive industries as well as in natural resource governance. Even the participation of civil society in the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) is very limited and the PMRB is more focused on the giving of permits rather than the disclosure of mining data and the analysis of these data for purposes of transparency and accountability and for better monitoring of extractive activities. Thus the need for a local MSG in the province. To make it more inclusive and participatory, the EITI model of governance should even be cascaded down to the city or municipal level.
In the implementation of the UNDEF project in the Province of Cebu, I learned that there is a need for more intensive and extensive capacity development among stakeholders: civil society, industry, and local government alike to better understanding the extractive industries, its operations, its legal frameworks, the EITI processes, the systematic disclosure of extractive data, the analysis of these data and to deeply appreciate and embrace the initiative and advocacy. Though MGB and DOE and PENRO and other oversight agencies are knowledgeable on the extractive industries, their operations, and legal frameworks, they lack knowledge of the EITI process, systematic data disclosure, and data analysis which are essential for a successful implementation of the EITI model of governance at the subnational level. Without enough understanding and appreciation of the advocacy and initiative, a stakeholder cannot fully commit to the cause and will be ill-equipped to effectively engage and participate in natural resource governance.
For a systematic disclosure of extractive data at the subnational level, there is need for industry and local government to invest in human resources, equipment, and have a budget for data collection, data disclosure, and data analysis. There is also a need to identify and determine what data need to be disclosed and a timely, complete, and accurate data disclosure. This will complement a better data disclosure at the national level making the disclosure more timely, more accurate, and complete.
To make the subnationalization of the EITI model of governance sustainable, there is a need to institutionalize it through a provincial ordinance. However, the challenge is how to convince and influence local legislators to pass the proposed ordinance as soon as possible. It takes time to convince and influence local legislators to pass an ordinance. Hence, a need for persistent and strategic lobbying.
Blog by Sectoral Transparency Alliance on Natural Resource Governance in Cebu, Inc. (STANCE)
In 2018, at the height of the local implementation of the UNDEF Project, a mountain collapsed taking
away lives, a good number of them, I am afraid, will remain unknown. The tragic event struck a
chord because it happened in an extractives area at a time when the UNDEF project is in full swing,
engaging basic sector representatives to encourage them to find their voice as they slowly take their
place in the spaces allocated to them within natural resource governance.
As hushed whispers were exchanged, a clear picture was formed: nation building becomes
meaningful if communities and the women and men chosen to represent them undertake an
ownership of their individual and collective roles contributing to a better world we all dream to give
our children and their children. Such intergenerational project is only possible when the sources of
power, even within natural resource governance, is so configured to be equally wielded by
stakeholders with preference to those who are always at the margins.
The UNDEF project stood on a terra firma of democratic values, providing space for those who often
stand in awe opposite to power with very little opportunities to express their right to be recognized
as part of the whole system of governance and resources allocation.
Admittedly, the long road to paradigm shifts and institutional renovations is still a far horizon away.
But change had been provoked, it is desired. The flames of hope had been ignited setting ablaze a
process that seeks out transformations and liberations, of communities so empowered that at the
heart of each one, change is already beginning to show its bud.