Large-scale miners paid a mere P5.4 billion to government or 0.003% of total government revenues in 2013. This is contrary to claims that the sector contributes P40 billion to state coffers. The said figures are made available through the 2015 Country Report of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
Bantay Kita (BK) is pushing for mandatory participation of all extractive companies operating in the Philippines regardless of their materiality. A mining company – small or big, contributes to negative social and environmental impact to communities hence the need for all to participate. Currently, EITI participation is voluntary. The biggest coal mining company – Semirara Mining and Power Corporation, refused to participate twice already.
Beneficial Ownership Disclosures
A recent research by BK authored by Madeleine Aloria found that owners of the biggest mining companies in the Philippines are the country’s elites. This includes the Ramoses of National Bookstore which has a huge stake in suspended Palawan firm Berong Nickel Corporation and also Carmen Copper – the country’s biggest copper mining company. The political clan Villar also owns what is projected to become the second biggest active mining operation in the country - the King-King Project in Compostela Valley.
The international EITI standard requires that country reports to disclose beneficial owners of extractive companies by 2020. BK is strongly pushing for these disclosures to make sure conflict of interests in licensing and extraction of natural resources are avoided and that benefits from these resources are not concentrated among the few.
Mining Monitoring Reports lack substance, P89 million left unaccounted for
According to the 2nd PH-EITI Report, monitoring reports on social expenditures of mining operations lack substance. The report claims that these documents do not explicitly provide concrete accomplishments that are related to their expenditures. The Environmental and Management Bureau also failed to disclose environmental impact assessment documents of 12 mining companies saying that they have lost track of the approved documents.
Duterte Administration should prioritize EITI
Bantay Kita urges President Rodrigo Duterte to certify transparency in the extractives as part of his drive to eradicate corruption in government. The mining industry recently earned the ire of President Duterte for “spoiling the land”. The president who is pushing for international standards in mining should make sure the Philippines become an EITI-compliant country.
A pending bill is currently filed in Congress under Senate Bill 1125 by Senator Joel Villanueva to institutionalize international standard EITI. The current PH-EITI was made through Executive Order 147 of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Bantay Kita National Coordinator Tina Pimentel presented on mining tax reforms and tax justice in an international forum organized by the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development and Freedom from Debt Coalition last September 16 in Quezon City.
The event was attended organizations from Asian countries and Australia promoting tax justice campaigns and initiatives in the region. Ms. Pimentel shared the "Tax Justice and Extractive Industries" panel with Sreedhar Ramamurthi of Environics Trust India.
The forum ran for a day tackling other issues on tax justice such as women and gender justice in tax systems; illicit financial flows and tax abuses of multinational corporations; tax justice and international agreements (DTAs and FTAs); and trade unions and workers' movements initiatives on tax issues.
Among the organizations that participated are Asian Fiscal and Tax Justice Alliance, Action Aid Vietnam, All Nepal Women's Association, Equity Working Group Bangladesh, Indian Social Action Forum, Prakarsa Indonesia, Public Services International Asia/Pacific, and International Transport Workers' Federation.
Last September 8-9, Bantay Kita co-organized, with the Tribal Leaders Development Foundation Inc., (TLDFI) and USAID, the Mindanao Indigenous Peoples Summit on Extractive Industry in Davao City inviting more than 100 indigenous peoples leaders and members from various tribes where there is presence of mining.
The 2-day program aims to capacitate and further identify governance and capacity gaps in communities on matters such as royalty management, free prior, and informed consent (FPIC) negotiations, and issues on the indigenous peoples rights act (IPRA). Activities during the event included simulation of FPIC negotiations, regional action planning, and also sharing of good practices on royalty management.
Some participants have identified the need for capacity building on financial management systems while some mentioned gaps in the assistance extended by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) which is the primary government agency tasked to cater to the welfare of the IPs.
The event was held in Waterfront Hotel Davao. Representatives from the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Secretariat and various CSOs were also present in the event.
The Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) brought its 2015 report findings to communities through its Local Government Units (LGUs) Roadshow this August held in different venues including Davao City (August 10-11), Cebu City (August 23-24), and Baguio City (August 31-September 1).
The forum invites participants mostly from stakeholders based in the affected communities namely local government officials, company officials, and civil society organizations (CSOs.
Various Bantay Kita (BK) members and staff sat on the morning panel discussions and presented the Mining Development Framework (MDF) in the afternoon.
Ms. Starjoan Villanueva of the Alternative Forum for Research in Mindanao presented the MDF in Davao City and also sat in the morning panel. Atty. Golda Benjamin of the Silliman University represented BK in the Cebu roadshow. Marco Zaplan, research and communications officer of BK, represented BK in the Baguio leg.
The PH-EITI LGU Roadshow is now on its third run since the EITI was implemented in the Philippines.