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.
Read up on the experiences of indigenous community of Bataraza, Palawan in understanding mining related data disclosures through the Open Mining Governance project of Bantay Kita.
Comics are available in English and Filipino. Find the link below to download.
Blog by Rose Ann Marie Paragas
When we talk about empowerment of people, I always remember a professor and a mentor back in college who always remind us to define first what empowerment is. The Google dictionary would tell us that it is “giving power or authority to someone to do something”. Prior to that, other important questions would be: Who defines empowerment? Who empowers who? And, how does one promote empowerment?
This has been the principle that caused carefulness, at least in my own journey as a project implementer, of the two-year Voice project entitled “Claiming Political Space: Amplifying Voices of Indigenous Peoples in Minerals Management”. With a quick glimpse of the project, I would assume that the empowerment we’re trying to achieve is to claim that political space which is probably lacking or limited among indigenous peoples – to allow them to meaningfully participate in decision making in the management of their minerals. One of the objectives of the project is to craft their Community Royalty Development Plan (CRDP) using an inclusive and participatory approach. The CRDP is a plan on how to manage the royalties received from mining operations, and prioritizing programs to which the indigenous community led by the Indigenous Peoples Organizations and/or the Indigenous Political Structure, shall allocate the funds. Supposedly, their CRDP should be based on their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development Plans (ADSDPP). Consequently, the ADSDPP is a prerequisite for the indigenous groups to acquire a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).
My experience at the community level allowed me to validate these assumptions.
To start, it is important to establish that the indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities define what is empowerment for them. There is already power within them that only needs to be awakened and strengthened. This is primarily our role as development workers to facilitate such an awakening of spirit by journeying with them and for them.
This definition of empowerment goes beyond merely having a Community Royalty Development Plan (CRDP). To them, empowerment roots back to exercising self-determination over their ancestral domain, the whole spectrum of natural resource governance and the indigenous processes within their land. It is for this reason that in planning, the IP groups considered not only royalties from mining but from all other resources within the domain. To achieve this though, the IPs are faced with challenges that are internal to the group as well as external challenges that may be due to the lack and/or gaps in government policies and guidelines. Consequently, these challenges also need reconciliation of both internal and external controls and interventions to be addressed.
In the case of Luzon particularly in Benguet and Palawan, it is safe to say that the indigenous peoples do have a political space or a platform to amplify their voices on minerals management and natural resource governance. There are existing Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPO) whose members are supposedly part of the Indigenous Political Structure (IPS). Note that there is a need to establish the distinction between the two among IPs and ICCs. The IPS also designates the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) in the local government units both at the barangay and municipal level. However, it was made apparent that these platforms need to be strengthened and/or widened. Achieving such a result includes reliving the IP Identity and the consciousness as individuals that work together as one unit united by their relationship to their land and their ancestors.
One of the essential keys in strengthening such platforms is the installment of clear guidelines and policies from relevant government agencies, alongside, the support of civil society organizations in providing assistance for collaborative learning and education. At present, some IPs are not yet awarded with their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT). This is oftentimes due to the lack of the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP). The creation of such a document needs resources which may be the main challenge among IP groups, such that of the Tagbanua and Palaw’an Tribe in Narra, Palawan. This also makes it even more challenging to craft a Community Royalty Development Plan (CRDP) which as per the guideline of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) should be based on the ADSDPP. Even guidelines on CRDP is not in place at present.
Having said these things, we know for a fact that there is so much work left for all stakeholders involved: the IPs, the government, the civil society, and other players. Dreaming about the empowerment of indigenous peoples in minerals management, collaborative actions must be done while still putting the interest of the IPs at the center of every decision making by allowing their voices to be heard and amplified.
Bantay Kita supports legislative reforms to increase government revenue from the extractives industry. A mining fiscal regime should ensure the greatest possible benefit to support development and well-being of citizens.
The government should establish a fiscal regime that is simple, and transparent mainly due to the limited administrative capacity, and weak regulatory capacity on disclosure.
We propose imposing 5% mineral royalty payments for all metallic mining operations which will be easier to administer, and by reason of that royalties are payments to the government for the minerals extracted. We support windfall profits tax to ensure revenue to government from excess profit of companies when international prices of resources soar. We support the introduction of new tax measures such as thin capitalization and ring-fencing to control tax avoidance of companies. However, a mining fiscal regime will only be effective and efficient by closely monitoring companies, and sustaining practice of transparency of both government and industry.
Bantay Kita welcomes the creation of a Natural Resource Trust Fund. We propose that the Trust Fund shall be governed by a multi-stakeholder oversight body composed of representatives from the government, industry, and civil society. The oversight body shall advise concerned local government units on fund operations. The Trust Fund is subjected to disclosures to the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI). It shall also be consistent with best practices of natural resource trust funds globally.
Bantay Kita strongly supports the institutionalization of the PH-EITI. The EITI is the global standard to promote the open and accountable management of extractive resources. In 2017, the Philippines has been recognized internationally as the first country to achieve satisfactory progress against the EITI Standard. The EITI identified that the Philippines has gone beyond the minimum required by the EITI Standard. The PH-EITI must continue its work to improve governance of the extractive industry. We recommend that a portion or share of mining revenues shall fund the PH-EITI programs and activities.
Finally, Bantay Kita supports this legislative reform on the mining fiscal regime only for the metallic mining. We believe that a different bill for the non-metallic industry which includes the coal industry should be filed. The Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, the major player in the coal industry do not exhibit any practice of good governance and have remain non-participant in PH-EITI for the past five years.