In support of the Philippine government’s economic growth agenda, a civil society group is working on a project to improve transparency and accountability in extractive industries, or those involving the country’s natural resources.
Bantay Kita, a civil society representative in the PH-EITI multi-stakeholder group (MSG), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Embassy in Manila on continuing grant assistance to push the Philippines’ candidacy to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
EITI is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working together to bolster openness and good governance of revenues from natural resources, to cultivate and maximize equitable growth.
The project will contribute to the Philippine bid for full EITI membership by developing the first Philippine EITI Report, which is required of each candidate country to demonstrate that it fully complies with the globally developed standards that promote revenue transparency at the local level.
It will also push for legislation institutionalizing EITI in the Philippines within the 16th Congress.
The project will also mobilize civil society and help implement the PH-EITI work plan by improving access to information regarding the industry and strengthening the participatory process of governance in the extractive industry.
“The support of the British Embassy to the Philippine EITI was essential in strengthening civil society’s participation in the program,” Cielo Magno, national coordinator of Bantay Kita, said.
“It enabled the CSO coalition to reach out to its members and create venues for engagement and capacity building. It allowed the multi-stakeholder group to meet regularly and discuss issues that are critical in producing the first EITI report. It supported the capability-building sessions with the different stakeholders that help strengthen transparency and accountability in the extractive industry. We appreciate the British Embassy’s support for helping us achieve all our milestones for the first year of EITI implementation,” she said.
British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad noted that the country has a wealth of natural resources and the sustainable extraction of these precious materials can really make a difference in the country’s economy.
“We support the Philippine Government’s initiative to manage its resources in a responsible manner through EITI, to curb corruption and conflict and encourage more equitable growth that will benefit everyone. The choice facing the country is not how to stop mining and energy extraction but to stop those who act outside the law and care little for the impact on communities,” Ahmad said.
Speaking for the Philippine Government, Finance Assistant Secretary Teresa Habitan said that “PH-EITI aims to elevate the standards of reporting on the extractive industry, not simply for the sake of reporting, but more importantly, to build a better informed policy environment for the management of the sector. In this advocacy, the British government has been among the first of our development partners to lend its support through grants to Bantay Kita, and thence to the activities and capacity building of the Multi-stakeholder Group of PH-EITI. The assistance from the British government has allowed PH-EITI to begin its task toward formulating and submitting its first EITI report auspiciously.”