• Lawmaker aims to halt bribery in mining

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    BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: In a bid to eradicate reports of bribery and corruption in the mining industry, a resolution has been filed in the House of Representatives seeking to implement the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the country.

    Deputy Speaker Carlos Padilla made the proposal under House Resolution 138 which directs the appropriate committee of the House of Representatives to inquire, in aid of legislation, on the implementation of EITI.

    ”If implemented, this will eradicate allegations of bribery and corruption of national and local officials by mining corporations,” he said.

    Padilla said the resolution is a response to the civil society and mining company representatives who have been clamoring for a global remedy to counter the lack of transparency in government revenues from natural resources.

    ”Thus, there is a need to require mining companies of the disclosure of all revenues, receipts, incentives, public contracts, agreements with communities, social spending and other relevant data and information,” he said.

    Padilla said Section 14 of the Executive Order (EO) 79 dated July 6, 2012, entitled “Improving Transparency in the Industry by Joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative” expressly provides that the government support and commit participation in the EITI.

    ”Therefore, the call for companies to ‘publish what you pay’ and for government to ‘publish what you earn’ is a necessary step towards a more accountable system for the management of natural resources revenue,” he said.

    Also the Nueva Vizcaya Lone District Representative, Padilla explained that the EITI is a global initiative that sets standards from transparency and accountability in the mining industry.

    He said EITI is a voluntary international system through which governments reaffirm their commitment to accountability and transparency for their country’s oil, gas and mining industries.

    At least three large-scale foreign mining firms are conducting extractive activities in the mineral-rich towns of Kasibu and Quezon.

    The Australian mining firm OceanaGold Phils. Inc. is in its full commercial operations while the British-owned FCF Minerals Corp. is now in its construction phase and about to start production.

    Another Australian firm Royalco Philippines Inc. is in its exploration stage but reportedly announcing its withdrawal due to strong resistance from villagers and Church-based anti-mining groups.

    In September 2002, EITI was launched by British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    On May 22, the Philippines became a candidate member at the latest EITI Global Conference held in Sydney, Australia.

    According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines ranks as the fifth most mineral-rich country in the world.

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