The Philippines has become the first country to have successfully obtained a “satisfactory progress assessment” under the 2016 extractive industry transparency initiative (EITI) Standard.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the EITI International Board, amid an ongoing review by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) on mine closure and suspension orders affecting over two dozen large-scale operating mines and an open-pit mining ban policy affecting selected ores.
The mining sector is under attack because of its alleged measly contribution to the country’s economic development. The country’s mining sector contributes less than 1 percent to the GDP, prompting former President Benigno S. Aquino III to sign Executive Order 79, which, among others, called for a halt in the processing of new applications for new mining projects pending the enactment of a new revenue-sharing law, a periodic review of the performance of existing operating mines, and imposition of mining no go zones that led to a steep drop and slowdown in mining investment inflow since 2011.
EITI is a Norway-based international initiative that promotes open and accountable management of extractive industries that include mining, oil and gas sectors.
The 2016 EITI Standard provides a set of requirements for data disclosure or transparency in the industry, from the awarding of licenses and contracts to monitoring production, revenue collection and allocation, as well as a socioeconomic contribution of the industry.
EITI is being implemented worldwide by 52 countries to date, including the Philippines, in a bid to be compliant with the EITI Standard (i.e., to be given a “satisfactory progress” rating) after a rigorous validation process.
In a news statement, the EITI noted that, as an implementing country, the Philippines established in 2013 the Philippine EITI, through Executive Order 147, issued Aquino. Philippine-EITI is steered by a multistakeholder group chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF) and composed of representatives from the government, industry and civil society.
The Philippines underwent the EITI validation process beginning in January this year.
The process culminated in the EITI Board’s decision, placing the country in the historic position of being the first in EITI compliance and serving as a model for other implementing countries.
According to the statement released by the EITI Board, “the Philippines presents a dynamic case of EITI implementation, with its fast-paced and innovative multistakeholder group engaging in strategic discussions linking the EITI to national priorities for the extractive sector.” It also said, “EITI has also built trust in a country where the mining sector has often been contentious.”
Philippine-EITI Head and Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III welcomed the decision, saying: “The…EITI…has been indispensable to achieving mutually beneficial collaboration between all stakeholders in the country. With the proper governance framework in place, the extractive industries may do what they do without causing harm.”
He added: “To achieve that, they must be transparent and the communities ever watchful. I trust that the international recognition we have received will further spur our nation to build institutions of accountability and enterprises that are better able to serve the common good.”
At present, there are legislative bills filed in the House and in the Senate to institutionalize the PHL-EITI.
Dominguez welcomed the declaration of the EITI.
“The forum that EITI provides has been indispensable to achieving mutually beneficial collaboration between all stakeholders in the country. With the proper governance framework in place, the extractive industries may do what they do without causing harm,” Dominguez said.
With Rea Cu