The British government and the Philippine civil society organization Bantay Kita signed its third Grant Agreement, sealing their partnership in ensuring good governance in the extractive industry through the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
On December 2014, the multi-stakeholder group composed of government agencies, the private sector, and civil society group representatives submitted the first Philippine EITI Country Report. The report reflected discrepancies between government collection and the companies’ declared payments amounting to at least P58.2 million.
The next step for EITI in the Philippines is to ensure that the information from the report is useful to different stakeholders in the extractive industry in the Philippines through capacity building both at the national and sub-national level.
Bantay Kita shall continue working with stakeholders at the sub-national level through the formation of multi-stakeholder groups. Currently four sub-national sites are underway: Compostela Valley, Nueva Vizcaya, T’boli, South Cotabato and Cebu.
At the national level, Bantay Kita is a member of the PH-EITI multi-stakeholder group and the organizer of the annual EITI CSO national conference attended by CSO representatives from all over the country.
“The first PH-EITI Report proves that different stakeholders can effectively work together towards transparency and accountability in the extractive industry. With the help of the British Embassy, we can take it a notch higher by empowering communities through participation in monitoring and policy making to help ensure that they maximize benefits from non-renewable resource extraction” said Dr. Cielo Magno, national coordinator of Bantay Kita.
“PH-EITI thanks the British Embassy for their continued support to ensure civil society participation as we implement EITI. This is the third grant awarded by the Embassy; indeed, a testament to their firm and unyielding commitment to transparency initiatives. At this point of our EITI process, this grant will be instrumental in empowering our stakeholders specifically the CSOs whose participation in our multi-stakeholder group continues to be critical in ensuring that our efforts are relevant and responsive to the needs of the Filipinos,” said PH-EITI Focal Person and Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresa Habitan.
The UK government shall provide institutional and financial support to Bantay Kita in order to use the 2014 PH-EITI Report as a platform to strengthen governance in the Philippine extractive industry.
“The extractive industries throughout the world are looked upon with concern and, at times, outright hostility. We have shown that adoption of the EITI principles and processes result in the protection of the environment, appropriate returns to investors and revenues for the government, which in turn can be reinvested in the community. People cannot live without essential minerals and hydrocarbons. What they can insist on is that extraction is undertaken responsibly. Our cooperation with Bantay Kita is a contribution towards reversing the legacy of poor practice in the Philippines which has stifled development,” British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said.