Bantay Kita, a national coalition that advocates for transparency and accountability, lauds Senator Grace Poe for filling Senate Bill (SB) No. 1883 – an act improving disclosure and transparency of the extractive industries. The bill upholds the right of the people to information on matters of public concern such as the mining, coal, oil and gas industries. It also helps ensure that development and utilization of natural resources provide intergenerational benefits to all Filipinos.
“The purpose of this bill is aligned with Pres. Duterte’s call during the SONA to guarantee that extractives proceeds contribute to all, not just a select few, for today and tomorrow,” said Bantay Kita National Coordinator Tina Pimentel.
SB 1883 institutionalizes the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) which will ensure the sustainability of the disclosure of relevant and timely data including taxes and fees collected by government, and social and environmental monitoring reports. The bill is a timely complement to the on-going fiscal rationalization that impacts extractive companies.
The PH-EITI shall be operationalized through the Multi-Stakeholder Group, which represents all sectors – from the industry, government, civil society, and indigenous peoples.
“With the disclosure of data, communities will be able to make better and informed decisions. EITI offers a space for citizens to engage in resource management,” Ms. Pimentel added.
The direct and non-direct payments received by the local government units shall be provided and disclosed in a detailed report through the Environment and Natural Resource Data Management Tool (ENRDMT). This tool will assist local governments units in tracking proceeds from national wealth and enable them to plan accordingly. The ENRDMT will enable the public to monitor expenditures made against these proceeds, leading to enhanced public financial management and ability to guarantee that proceeds contribute to sustainable development.
The Bill requires a publicly available register of beneficial owners. Beneficial owners are natural persons who ultimately own or control extractive companies.
“A beneficial ownership registry will lead to increased accountability, help track illicit financial flows, ensure correct tax payments, and enable government to enforce foreign ownership restrictions,” Tina Pimentel stated.