PH lone country to meet int'l standards in extractive industries governance


Posted at Oct 06 2017 09:20 PM | Updated as of Oct 06 2017 10:51 PM

The EITI map showing only the Philippines in green, the lone country assessed with "satisfactory progress" under its extractive industries governance standards. Countries in the paler shade of green are those with "meaningful progress," while those marked yellow have either shown "inadequate progress" or have been suspended. Countries in blue have yet to be assessed. (Screen capture)

MANILA - The Philippines is the first country to meet standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), rated with "satisfactory progress" in the governance of the oil, gas and mining industries. 

The EITI board made the decision on Thursday, saying in its report that the Philippines has used its standards to strategically engage multi-stakeholder groups involved in the extractive sector.

“I congratulate the Philippines on its use of the EITI Standard to build trust, generate public debate and inform policy, which serves as an example to other countries," said EITI Chair Fredrik Reinfeldt in a statement. 

He called on stakeholders in the industry to continue working towards progress. 

"Meeting all the EITI requirements does not, of course, mean that the EITI is issuing a clean bill of health. But it is a milestone for the EITI and, more importantly, a significant achievement for all the stakeholders in the Philippines that have supported EITI implementation," he said. 

The EITI is the "global standard for the good governance of oil, gas and mineral resources" which, when implemented by a country, ensures accountability on the use of natural resources, its website says.

Former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez had during her time issued a department order requiring mining companies to comply with EITI, or else their company's Environmental Compliance Certificate would be cancelled.

As she campaigned against destructive mining practices, Lopez, through the order, guaranteed 100 percent compliance of mining firms to EITI standards.

The Philippines, according to the EITI board, went beyond the minimum for 9 requirements, particularly in disclosing information on the legal and fiscal framework, contracts, revenue management, revenue expenditure and social expenditures.

Despite the failure to secure disclosures from the Semirara Mining Corp., which accounts for more than 90 percent of coal production in the country, the Philippines still met all EITI requirements.

The Philippines has also successfully used EITI standards to distribute mining revenues from central to local levels, the report said.

"All stakeholders in the multi-stakeholder group value transparency in the manner by which the development and management of the extractive sector must move forward," Teresa Habitan, chair of the Philippines-EITI, said in a statement.

"What has been validated for the Philippines is the perseverance of all stakeholders to do what is right and what is best not only for the extractive industries but more importantly for the country and our people," she said.

The positive assessment came as government worked towards more stringent regulation of mining firms. 

President Rodrigo Duterte has been critical of open-pit mining and had previously warned miners that he would tax them "to death."

Last month, the President called for an "overhaul" of mining laws in the country.