Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

PH-EITI Roadshow 2018 pushes for extractives transparency in local development

PH-EITI Roadshow 2018 participants (From the PH-EITI Official Facebook Page)

In support of the thrust to “mainstream extractives transparency at the subnational or local level,” the Manila and Southern Tagalog cluster of various government agencies, local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations (CSOs), Indigenous Peoples (IP) organizations, academe, and extractive companies gathered for the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) Roadshow 2018 held at Pan Pacific Manila, July 9.

Themed “Moving Beyond Transparency: Integrating Extractives Disclosure and Dialogue in Local Development,” this event presented the key findings of the fourth PH-EITI report entitled “Moving Beyond Transparency: the Fourth PH-EITI Report (FY 2015-2016)” which covered 28 metallic and seven non-metallic mining companies, five oil and gas companies, eight national government agencies (NGAs), and 61 LGUs.

According to the 4th PH-EITI Country Report, mining and quarrying contributed 0.6 percent, while oil and gas contributed 0.19 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

“Reconciled revenues exhibited a sharp downturn from 2014 due to falling prices of commodities. Both metallic and oil and gas revenues trimmed on average by half for oil and gas, and 41 percent for the metallic sector,” the report added.

For 2016, the Department of Energy collected 48.15 percent of the total reconciled revenues followed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue with 43.65 percent, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) (3.05 percent), LGUs (2.60 percent), Bureau of Customs (1.99 percent), and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (0.56 percent).

The relevance of transparency in the local development process was highlighted during the panel discussion composed of Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, Legal Officer of the Province of Palawan and Vice Chairperson of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB); Hon. Crispin Lumba Jr., Vice Mayor of Narra Municipality in Palawan; Engr. Roland de Jesus, MGB MIMAROPA Regional Director and PMRB Chairperson; Atty. Ronald Rex Recidoro, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines Executive Director, and PH-EITI MSG member; Engr. Rufino Bomasang, Petroleum Association of the Philippines Chairperson; and Ms. Maria Kristina Pimentel, Bantay Kita-PWYP National Coordinator and PH-EITI MSG member.

In the discussion, the panelists underscored the importance of transparency and systematized data disclosure when it comes to revenue collection from extractives which could translate to better policies and programs that will benefit all stakeholders, particularly the host and neighboring communities of extractive companies’ operations.

With regards to Palawan being the center of most mining operations in the MIMAROPA Region, Atty. Matta admitted that it is only now that the province is “waking up” to the potential local income from the industry. He said there is an initiative to post all earnings from the extractive industries and those coming from the PMRBs down to the barangay level. Atty. Mata also assured that the provincial government has been moving for the early resolution of Palawan’s Malampaya gas share claim which is still pending before the Supreme Court.

Vice Mayor Lumba recognized how EITI’s push for transparency could play a vital role in countryside development. He shared that LGUs have allowed the involvement of extractive industries in the Local Government Council in order for them to know how collected revenues are being spent, and how these companies can contribute or participate in the local development projects.

Meanwhile, Atty. Recidoro said the lack of available data and transparency particularly in the local level contribute to misinformation regarding the significance of the mining industry in the community. He said it is important to integrate the principles of transparency through the Environment and Natural Resources Data Management Tool (ENRDMT), putting up transparency boards showing revenue collections from mining operations, and strengthening PRMBs for small-scale mining.

Regional Director de Jesus pointed how significant it is for the host and neighboring communities to know more about the gains from the mining operations’ Social Development and Management Program, payment of taxes and royalty shares, and Environmental Protection and Enhance Program. He said LGUs should also participate in the Multipartite Monitoring and Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committee meetings, and help NGAs in spreading information about the benefits of mining in the community.

As for the oil and gas industry, Engr. Bomasang stressed the urgency to look for the next Malampaya which is expected to be depleted by 2024. Together with the DOE, Engr. Bomasang said their advocacy is to accelerate the exploration and development of oil and gas emphasizing that this anticipated depletion of the gas facility is more of an energy security concern for the country.

On the part of the CSOs, Ms. Pimentel said that beyond its economic contribution, she opined that looking into the social and environmental impacts will give a comprehensive picture of both the costs and benefits that the extractives industry brings.

EITI implementing agencies also provided updates on the status of the ENRDMT which reflects the total collection from extractives, the compliance to DAO 2017-07 which mandates mining contractors to participate in the PH-EITI, and the establishment of a monitoring tool for IP royalty payments, among others.

The second part of the program featured a lecture on Tools for Mainstreaming Transparency (PH-EITI’s Systematic Extractives Electronic Disclosure [SEED] Initiative), and breakout sessions on Data Dive Workshop on SEED Tools and EITI 101 for new stakeholders.

PH-EITI is created in 2013 by virtue of Executive Order No. 147 pursuant to Executive Order No. 79, s. 2012. In October 2017, the Philippines was declared as the first among 50 countries implementing EITI to have successfully obtained a “satisfactory progress” in compliance with 2016 EITI standard.

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