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.