ALMOST unheralded, the Philippines mining sector got a major boost last week when it achieved candidacy status with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which works to increase transparency of payments made in the oil, gas and mining industries.
Pushing hard for the Philippines was Australia which is one of the world’s leading mining nations, with quite a few of its mining companies having operations in the Philippines
Nobody could be more delighted by this latest positive development than Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell who said: “I congratulate the Philippines for their hard work in applying to join the EITI. This shows a welcome commitment by the Philippines to improve transparency in its mining sector.”
The ambassador added: “By achieving EITI candidacy, the Philippines can build confidence among communities and businesses in the extractive industries. This is a positive step toward developing the mining sector in the Philippines in an open and transparent way. I’m proud that Australia was able to support the Philippines in its application to join EITI.”
Australia supported the Philippine government’s candidature for the EITI, as part of efforts to improve transparency and governance within the Philippines mining sector. The Philippines EITI Multi-Stakeholder Group, which the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) helped to establish, has been tasked to oversee the implementation of the global EITI transparency standards in the Philippines.
In addition, Australia contributed over P1 million (A$25,000) to the Filipino nongovernment organization Bantay Kita to facilitate community and civil society in consultations on the Philippines’ candidacy for the EITI.
Australia also supported the participation of a high level delegation from the Philippines in the recent Mining for Development and EITI conferences.
As an EITI candidate country, the Philippines must now disclose all payments made in its mining sector, and meet a series of strict requirements in the EITI standard in order to become fully EITI compliant.
Australia and the Philippines have also launched a partnership on the education front that aims to raise the quality of education in the Philippines, by investing in research to support the implementation of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Kindergarten to 12 (K to 12) Program.
The program has been kick-started with the opening of the Assessment Curriculum and Technology Research Center (ACTRC), a partnership of the University of the Philippines (UP)-College of Education and the University of Melbourne’s Assessment Research Center.
The ACTRC, located in the UP College of Education Building in Diliman, Quezon City, was established with P150-million (A$3.4 million) support from AusAID. The funding will support the center’s initial three years of operation.
“Australia strongly supports the Philippine government’s efforts in implementing the K to 12 program. Investing in a quality education system will provide better opportunities for all, and a pathway out of poverty for the most disadvantaged,” said Tweddell.
The center will undertake grounded research and evaluation activities in the areas of assessment, curriculum and technology as they relate to the implementation of the Philippine government’s K to 12 program.
Added Ambassador Tweddell: “The interaction of curriculum, assessment and the use of technology are important facets of a successful education program. The curriculum is the blueprint of an education system. Assessment provides a picture of where we are in that blueprint today. Technology enables the curriculum to respond to the needs of the 21st Century.”
The establishment of the ACTRC will enable the University of the Philippines to contribute not only to the implementation of a major reform program such as the K to 12, but also to the professional development of the UP faculty, especially fulfillment of its mandate as a research university.”