Manila, Philippines – PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), an independent administrator reported discrepancies amounting to P2.87 billion. Large-scale mining and oil and gas firms declared P53.66 billion worth of payment while government records show that only P50.79 billion was received from participating companies.
Aside from the reconciliation report, the PH-EITI report also includes separate volumes for contextual information and annexes.
According to Pocholo Domondon, assurance director of PwC, there were many factors which resulted to the reported discrepancies.
The government agencies and the companies had different accounting frameworks, which may explain the variance between the reported payments.
Moreover, according to Domondon, the government does not declare anything that they have received from the companies unless they have actually received these funds from the companies. This is not the case with the companies for they report payments using an approval basis.
According to Marie Gay Alessandra Ordenes, PH-EITI national coordinator, some companies also refused to sign the waiver that should allow the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to disclose their tax records.
The EITI multistakeholder group (MSG) composed of Bantay Kita, representatives from the government, and the extractive industries have initially agreed on a list of documents to be disclosed by the government. However, some agencies such as the Board of Investments (BOI) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) denied the EITI MSG access to the information needed to complete the report.
“Bantay Kita strongly believes that none of the information requested by the EITI MSG that was initially or is still being denied is covered by any legitimate right to information exception, whether by jurisprudence or by law,” said Cielo Magno, Bantay Kita national coordinator.
NCIP eventually committed to release copies of the memoranda of agreement (MOA) with indigenous peoples in mining communities upon pressure from the EITI MSG.
“The first PH-EITI report is a great achievement by the EITI MSG, but we should not rest on our laurels. We must surpass what we have accomplished this year and we can only that if we are provided with clear procedural guidelines and timetables that would balance other rights and legitimate public interest,” Magno added.
The PH-EITI report will be officially launched on February 3, 2015 at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. This will be followed by the Bantay Kita PH-EITI CSO National Conference on February 4-5, 2015 at Microtel, UP Technohub. A total of 200 participants coming from different organizations and institutions from all over the country are expected to take part in the events.
“Bantay Kita, as a civil society organization partner of EITI is committed in this partnership and we hope that will contribute to our advocacy for better governance in the natural resource sector in the extractives and better quality of life for our communities that are affected by the extractive industries,” said Tess Tabada, Bantay Kita CSO Representative.