PH targets EITI candidacy application in April
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Aquino government is working double time to pass the Philippines' application for its candidacy in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) -- a seal of global approval that payments and receipts are properly disclosed -- in April.
In a press conference in Malacanang on Thursday, April 4, Presidential Assistant on Climate Change secretary Elisea Gozun said the country is currently working to comply with the EITI to make sure that companies engaged in the mining industry pay the right taxes.
If the Philippines becomes EITI compliant, it will be the 2nd ASEAN country -- the other is Timor Leste -- that ensures an effective process for annual disclosure and reconciliation of all revenues from its extractive sector, allowing citizens to see how much their country receives from oil, gas and mining companies.
Indonesia is another ASEAN country engaged in the transparency initiative, with EITI status as candidate.
"We hope that this will also lead to improvements to tax collection processes, as well as enhance the thrust and stability in the extractive industries," Gozun said.
This comes amid the efforts of the government to pursue a mining reform bill in Congress that will address issues about revenue sharing between the government and the mining operators. Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the mining reform bill will be a priority measure of the Aquino government in the next Congress.
Why join EITI?
Application to be part of the EITI has been on the drawing board since 2005, but the government pursued it only when Executive Order (EO) 79 of the government was passed in July 2012. The EO defines the specifics of the mining policy and mandating different mining stakeholders to pursue EITI accreditation.
The government is pushing for the passing of the country's application for EITI candidacy in April, along with the planned establishment of the multi-stakeholder group (MSG) that will oversee the implementation of the EITI.
Included in the tasks of the planned MSG is the crafting of a work plan that contains measurable targets, costs and timetable for the implementation of the country's transparency initiative.
The Gozun-led Philippine EITI have also been meeting with different stakeholders in the mining industry to fasttrack the compliance process.
"We had an outreach starting off with the training of trainers and we actually had five regional consultations conducted in different parts of the country where mining is active. We also had a meeting with the indigenous people in areas where you have mining," she said.
Among the stakeholders engaged in the EITI talks include Bantay Kita, a nationwide federation of non-government organizations (NGOs), Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP) for the large scale mining companies, Petroleum Association of the Philippines for the oil and gas sector as well as the academe and some religious groups.
Currently, a total of 37 countries participate in the EITI, 20 of which are compliant to the transparency initiative while the remaining 17 are considered candidates. - Rappler.com