PH-EITI improves transparency, accountability of extractives sector

The Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI), chaired by the Department of Finance (DOF), has made strides in improving the transparency and accountability of the Philippines’ extractives sector as well as continued strengthening of the government’s natural resource management.

“We have made substantial strides over the past decade. With eight country reports published covering nine fiscal years, and reconciling more than 405.4 billion pesos in government revenues, the PH-EITI has shone a spotlight on the financial flows from over one hundred extractive projects across the country,” Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said in a recorded message to the 2023 Fostering Open and Responsible Governance of the Extractives (FORGE) Philippines.

The PH-EITI is a multi-stakeholder group composed of representatives from the government, industry, and civil society organizations (CSOs) in the country. The group implements the EITI, which is the global standard that promotes the open, accountable management, and good governance of oil, gas, and mineral resources.

FORGE is PH-EITI’s annual National Conference that allows stakeholders to raise concerns and share insights on matters affecting extractives and natural resource governance.

The CSOs, extractive industry firms, and various government agencies convened at SEDA Manila Bay from November 28 to 30 for the 2023 Extractives Transparency Week (ETW), which marked a critical dialogue on effective natural resource governance in the Philippines. The event coincides with the 10th anniversary of the PH-EITI.

According to Secretary Diokno, the Philippines’ move to align itself with global EITI standards has played a crucial role in strengthening the confidence of citizens in the government’s management of natural wealth.

“It has empowered citizens, civil society, and government entities to engage in informed dialogues about the industry’s operations and contributions to society. By opening up data to public scrutiny, the PH-EITI has driven reforms that have reshaped our extractive governance,” he said.

Apart from improving public understanding of the management of natural resources and increasing the transparency of data, the PH-EITI is also responsible for strengthening national resource management and increasing the extractive sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

By providing a platform to align the objectives and actions of all stakeholders, the PH-EITI can support the DOF’s proposal to reform the Philippines’ mining fiscal regime, making local mining more competitive and attractive to foreign investments.

The Finance Secretary cited data from January to July 2023, highlighting that the Philippines has drawn in US$ 6.8 million in investments for mining and quarrying.

“I often say that the road to any real, meaningful change will be long and difficult, but surely rewarding. What matters is that we continue hammering on, as metalworkers do in a forge, to transform, reshape, and strengthen the extractive sector into a powerful driver of sustainable and equitable prosperity for the Philippines,” he said.

This year’s ETW not only celebrated PH-EITI’s ten years of transformative work but also set the stage for continued efforts towards transparent and accountable governance in the extractive sectors of the Philippines.

The event was attended by members of the multi-stakeholder group comprised of Bantay Kita Publish What You Pay Philippines, Inc.; the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP); the Philippine Petroleum Association of the Upstream Industry (Oil and Gas), Inc.; OceanaGold Philippines, Inc; the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company; the Philex Mining Corporation; the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP); the DOF; the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-MGB); the Department of Energy (DOE); the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG); and the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF).