The indigenous people are one of the most vulnerable groups in this crisis. As indigenous communities already experienced poor access to essential and social services, and healthcare - this public health emergency and quarantine measures pose a threat to the food security of indigenous communities as a result of the loss of their daily source of income.
Bantay Kita, through the TELUS International Philippines, was able to assist and extend support to indigenous women in Agusan del Sur, Palawan, and South Cotabato amidst COVID-19. To respond to the needs of our community partners, Bantay Kita provided social assistance which consists of two components: basic commodity package – rice, canned goods, medicines, vitamins, hygiene kit, alcohol and face masks, etc. and food security and livelihood assistance – vegetable seeds and fruit seedlings.
The project was able to respond to the needs of the indigenous communities affected by COVID-19 which resulted to loss of jobs and income. The social assistance provided was timely and relevant that it helped indigenous communities to cope with the current situation through having an alternative source of fresh produce and food, and a low-cost and healthy diet for their family.
06 November 2020
Bantay Kita seeks clarification from the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) on the reported issuance of Certificate Precondition (CP) for Sagittarius Mines, Inc. in Tampakan, South Cotabato.
The Tampakan Copper and Gold Project of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. covers five ancestral domains, and under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA law), each indigenous cultural community should give their consent. The indigenous communities have raised concerns on the procedure in the issuance of the certificate. Such clarifications and dialogues to discuss the matter have been requested, however the NCIP has not responded and consistently ignored the requests.
The Philippines committed to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) which promotes the transparent and accountable governance of our natural resources. Thus, the principles of good governance must prevail, such as transparency and accountability in the issuance of permits, the conduct of dialogues as a platform to raise and discuss issues or concerns, and the free, prior and informed consent from the indigenous communities.
Bantay Kita calls on the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to conduct their processes in a transparent manner, especially to the stakeholders of the project. Thus, we request the NCIP to disclose copies of the following documents to the indigenous communities and local government of South Cotabato: field-based investigation (FBI) report, and free and prior informed consent (FPIC) reports. By providing the data and information, we believe that the stakeholders will be able to fully understand the situation and make evidence-based decisions and statements.
We believe that being transparent is a key step towards achieving good governance in natural resource management and anything less would be a disservice to the communities, LGUs, and contravene the President’s commitment to the extractive sector.
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.
How to Open Up Mining Governance? The Experiences of the Indigenous Peoples in Palawan
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.