July 23, 2014, Manila, Philippines – To achieve greater transparency and accountability in the mining industry, Bantay Kita (BK) is calling for full participation by all large scale mining, oil, gas and coal mining in the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI).
EITI is a policy adopted by the Philippine government to improve transparency and accountability in the extractive industry sector. The policy requires government agencies and companies to disclose the taxes and fees companies actually paid to the government and the social expenditure programs companies actually delivered to communities.
Participation requires the signing of a waiver to allow the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to disclose the taxes the companies paid to the government. To date, only 33 out of the 51 metallic and coal mining, gas, and oil companies required to report have signed the waiver.
“We are challenging the companies to display their commitment to transparency and accountability by signing the BIR waiver and complying with PH-EITI. We are still a long way from achieving 100 percent participation from all the extractive companies,” BK National Coordinator Dr. Cielo Magno said.
According to BK, current macro economic data show very little socio-economic benefit from mining. There are about forty large-scale metallic mining companies operating in the country whose contribution to the GDP is only about 1%. Mining and quarrying account for less than 1% of total employment . They directly provide at most 80,000 jobs.
Many of the provinces hosting mining are the poorest in the country. An independent study by Dr. Ogie Arcenas of the UP School of Economics shows that mining does not contribute to poverty alleviation. Using data from Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF), Dr. Magno reaffirms this with her own study as she demonstrated that the share of provinces from the extraction of natural resources, which is about 3% of their total budget, is not even enough to cover the provinces’ expenditures in education, health care and basic social services.
“We value the willingness of the 33 companies to participate in EITI and disclose key industry information. We hope that the other companies who have not signed the BIR waiver and express commitment to implement EITI will take this opportunity to disprove the notion that mining has no a significant social and economic impact both at the community, provincial, and national level,” Dr. Merian Mani, CSO representative to the PH-EITI, added.
On the government side, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) have submitted their data. The Board of Investment (BOI), which provides incentives to companies and local government units hosting mining operations are also required to report.
The report is set to be released on December this year, which gives PH-EITI less than six months to gather all the data from the government and the extractive companies.