Bantay Kita, a national coalition advocating for transparency and accountability in natural resource governance, calls on national government agencies to make its processes transparent, to hold genuine consultations from key stakeholders, and to recognize the right of indigenous peoples to a free and prior informed consent.
Last 20 June 2019, the financial or technical assistance agreement (FTAA) of OceanaGold Philippines, Inc. (OGPI) expired and is currently pending for renewal. However, the local government unit and mining-affected communities of Brgy. Didipio, Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya were not made aware of the renewal application of the mining agreement of OceanaGold.
Bantay Kita National Coordinator Pamela Grafilo said, “the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Mines and Geoscience Bureau (DENR-MGB), as a member of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI), commits to uphold the principle of transparency, including the renewal process of any mining agreement.”
The EITI Standard requires disclosure of information along the extractive industry value chain involving how extraction rights are awarded. Local government units and affected mining communities have the right to access to information regarding their natural resources.
“As stakeholders of the PH-EITI, we urge the MGB to uphold its commitment to transparency on decision-making processes that affect communities as well as to genuine community engagement for sound natural resource governance”, said Pamela Grafilo.
Today, as we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Bantay Kita reiterates its call to the relevant government agencies to uphold their processes in transparency and to recognize and respect any decision made by affected communities and the indigenous peoples.
Bantay Kita also calls on the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) to hold a participatory and inclusive free and prior informed consent process among cultural communities. A process that is free from any form of manipulation and provided a platform to be heard and attended to.
The FPIC process shall serve as a safeguard to the right of the indigenous peoples to self-governance over their ancestral domain.