Gov't touts transparency in PH extractive sector after rejoining EITI | Inquirer Business

Gov’t touts transparency in PH extractive sector after rejoining EITI

/ 08:16 AM September 26, 2022

Participation of various interested groups in efforts to make more transparent the domestic extractive industries, particularly the mining of minerals, will be strengthened as the government and its partners in the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) hit the ground running after rejoining the global initiative.

The Department of Finance said in a statement the PH-EITI convened the first Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) meeting under the Marcos administration on Sept. 16, two weeks after the country reaffirmed its commitment to implement the EITI standard.

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“This meeting demonstrates the government’s continuing commitment to improve transparency and accountability in the extractive industries,” Finance Undersecretary Cielo Magno.

Magno, who also sits as PH-EITI chair, said that to improve resource governance, the MSG agreed to strengthen spaces for multi-stakeholder participation and advocate for more spaces along the extractive industry value chain.

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Based in Norway and founded in 2003, EITI advocates a global standard that is meant to ensure transparency of revenues — in the form of taxes, royalties, signature bonuses and other payments — from natural resources, particularly petroleum and minerals.

Countries are assessed on their progress in meeting the requirements of the EITI Standard through “Validation,” the EITI’s quality assurance mechanism. The EITI updates its standard every three years and subjects member countries to validation to ascertain their compliance.

In 2017, the EITI recognized the Philippines as the first among more than 50 countries in the world to have fully complied with the 2016 EITI Standard.

But last June, the Philippines through then Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III informed EITI that the country was quitting the initiative.

Dominguez called out the EITI board for a validation process that “is unduly subjective, biased and unfair.”

Dominguez said the EITI board has treated the Philippines unfairly by using irrelevant metrics and relying on unvalidated reports in assessing the status of civic space in the extractives sector.

Now, Magno said the MSG also agreed to include a report on the status of civic engagement in the annual country report.

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Also, the MSG discussed remaining initiatives for 2022, including the production of the PH-EITI Country Report for 2021, holding of the 2022 National Conference, and a planned visit of EITI chair and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark to the Philippines this November.

To date, the PH-EITI has produced seven country reports, reconciling over P362.5 billion in government revenues from extractive projects from 2012 to 2019.

Aside from disclosing data on the extractive industries to inform research and policy recommendations, the PH-EITI also provides space for multi-stakeholder participation in resource governance.

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