The Philippine and British governments, along with non-governmental organization Bantay Kita, are embarking on a partnership that will push the Philippine agenda on strengthening transparency and accountability in extractive industries.
The collaboration will help the Philippine government fulfill its initiative as a candidate country to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) by working together with Bantay Kita, a civil society representative in the PH-EITI multi-stakeholder group, with support from the British government.
Among the project’s aims is to develop 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, industry players and local government to work on the implementation of EITI both at the national and sub-national level.
A memorandum of understanding was signed on June 14 between the Philippine government and Bantay Kita, which formalizes the agreement between the two parties to carry out activities that will reinforce the country’s work plan to increase accountability and transparency in sectors such as mining and oil and gas. To this end, Bantay Kita has undertaken a separate agreement with the British Embassy that will provide funding for these activities through the British government’s Prosperity Programme.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd recently announced his commitment to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative through Executive Order 79 on Institutionalizing and Implementing Reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector. The Philippines was accepted as an EITI candidate country at the EITI’s global meeting in Sydney on May 22.
Secretary Elisea “Bebet” Gozon, Presidential Adviser on Climate Change, said, “We thank the British government for this invaluable support which will go a long way in institutionalizing and facilitating the EITI implementation in the Philippines. This funding will also support the activities that will be undertaken in the subnational implementation of EITI and in the capacity building of the different stakeholders which is needed so that we can effectively implement EITI in the country. This is all in line with our President’s daang matuwid commitment to our people to promote good governance and fight corruption.”
According to British Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Trevor Lewis, the funding signifies the British government’s continuing support for the transparency and anti-corruption program of the Aquino administration.
Cielo Magno, national coordinator of Bantay Kita said, “This is an important step forward for the Philippines because it proves our resolve to realize the goal of transparency and accountability in the extractive industries.
“We are happy to see the framework for EITI taking shape quickly in the Philippines and we are excited to see it happen with the help of the British Embassy, the leadership of the Aquino administration, and the cooperation of all stakeholders including the business and civil society sectors,” she concluded.