CUP OF T | VOL 1, ISS 2 – APRIL TO JUNE 2018
Beyond Transparency: PH-EITI highlights stakeholder experiences in EITI implementation at National Conference 2018
From data disclosure to empowering people—this is how PH-EITI sees itself moving forward five years since the beginning of EITI implementation in the Philippines.
ReadFrom data disclosure to empowering people—this is how PH-EITI sees itself moving forward five years since the beginning of EITI implementation in the Philippines.
PH-EITI best demonstrated this advocacy at its National Conference (NatCon) held on 18 April 2018 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City. The annual multi-stakeholder gathering served as a platform to communicate the findings of the 4th PH-EITI Country Report. Likewise, it featured short talks that highlighted the roles and experiences of stakeholders in instilling transparency and in realizing the benefits of openness in extractives governance.
In his opening remarks, PH-EITI Focal Person, Department of Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin explained that the conference aimed to showcase how government, industry, civil society, and other stakeholders have experienced the theme, “MOVING BEYOND TRANSPARENCY: Galvanizing Open Environment and Natural Resource Governance for Development”.
“We hope that the program today elevates the discourse on extractives transparency from a focus on data disclosure to how transparency can empower and has empowered the people to meaningfully participate in managing our country’s natural wealth,” said Usec. Agabin.
NatCon 2018 was organized along with other events that form part of what PH-EITI dubbed as “Transparency Week”. It hosted at least 400 attendees including high level government officials, civil society and industry representatives, student leaders, members of the media, members of the academe, and development and international partners.
The event took on a media and tech savvy approach in launching its flagship product, the 4th Country Report, by employing a panoramic screen that not only captured audiences’ attention through unique visual aesthetics, but also presented and embodied a wide array of extractives data. The innovation was intended to make PH-EITI datasets more engaging and relevant to the public.
The presentation of key findings of the country report was supported by the Transparency Talks or “T Talks” that humanized the otherwise technical information from the country report. The first part of T Talks featured personal stories by three leaders from Philippine government, industry, and civil society. Each of them shared insights on the relevance of transparency in, and better governance of extractives to the country’s sustainable development.
The second part unveiled three best published pieces of PH-EITI’s Media Fellowship Program. Authors shared the findings of their journalistic works as well as their experiences while developing their stories.
PH-EITI capped the event off with the announcement of recipients of the Transparency Awards, an annual recognition that the PH-EITI Multi-stakeholder Group (MSG) bestows to national government agencies, local government units, companies, and civil society organizations for their outstanding performance and achievement in the implementation of EITI in the Philippines, and in advancing the cause of transparency in the extractive sector.
CSO initiatives, critical to meaningful EITI implementation — US agency
Inclusive broad-based economic growth is essential to sustainable development, a U.S. agency official said at the “2018 National Civil Society Organizations Conference (CSO Conference) on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives in the Extractive Industry”.
ReadInclusive broad-based economic growth is essential to sustainable development, a U.S. agency official said at the “2018 National Civil Society Organizations Conference (CSO Conference) on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives in the Extractive Industry”.
United States Agency for International Development or USAID Deputy Director for Economic Development Jenna Diallo made the statement on 16 April 2018 in Pasay City at the opening program of the two-day CSO Conference. The conference was spearheaded by Bantay Kita (BK), a coalition of civil society organizations advocating transparency and accountability in the extractive industries. It was also the opening event of PH-EITI’s Transparency Week that ran from 16-19 April 2018.
In her message to BK and conference participants, Diallo recognized the key role of civil society groups in making the Philippines the first country in the world to meet the EITI Standard in October 2017. She also emphasized that CSO initiatives are critical to the meaningful implementation of EITI at the local level, hence its active support to BK activities.
About 110 participants attended the conference that zeroed in on the theme “Towards Empowered Communities Claiming Space, Amplifying Voices.”
Aside from messages, and panel presentations, the event served as a venue to report BK’s accomplishments and takeaways from 2017. There was also an action-planning of CSO regional clusters for their plans and programs for 2018.
During the closing ceremonies, BK honored outgoing CSO members of PH-EITI Multi-stakeholder Group and announced the selection process for new representatives.
PH-EITI pioneers student conference on resource governance
As it seeks to be more inclusive and participatory, PH-EITI developed the first-ever National Resource Governance Student Conference or NRGSC.
ReadAs it seeks to be more inclusive and participatory, PH-EITI developed the first-ever National Resource Governance Student Conference or NRGSC.
NRGSC was held on 17-19 April 2018, and was part of PH-EITI’s Transparency Week. Supported by industry stakeholders of PH-EITI, namely, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, and the Petroleum Association of the Philippines, the event sought to empower student leaders across the country, and build a network of youth who are conscious of transparency and resource governance.
The event had 42 student participants from multiple disciplines such as mining, metallurgical and petroleum engineering, and geology. There were also delegates from non-extractives related programs like social sciences, communications, information technology, and business administration. They hail from seven different regions where extractive operations are located.
The delegates attended PH-EITI’s National Conference 2018 where they gathered information for their conference outputs.
They also enjoyed the Resource Contracting Game, a simulation of contracts negotiation between stakeholders of proposed sites of extractives operations.
The students’ main activity was the Resource Governance Innovation or RGI Challenge, an idea-pitching competition aimed at bringing out innovative solutions to pressing resource governance challenges in the Philippines.
Eight groups presented project proposals that had mini-research, capacity-building, and information dissemination activities, among other components. Three groups with the best pitches were given cash prizes.
The winning ideas included a pop-up exhibit with virtual reality and other audio-visual experiences for capacity development of young members of Indigenous Peoples. Another proposal was a mobile application that features an educational game aimed at addressing misinformation on the extractives. The best pitch was a project that seeks to profile minerals including heavy metals that usually form part of toxic tailings in small scale mining operations.
Mines bureau asks stakeholders to submit proposed amendments to small-scale mining law implementing rules
The government is open to receiving proposed amendments to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 7076 or the Peoples’ Small-scale Mining Act of 1991.
ReadThe government is open to receiving proposed amendments to the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 7076 or the Peoples’ Small-scale Mining Act of 1991.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau Region 11 Director Atty. Jasper Alberto Lascano was attending PH-EITI’s first-ever consultation-workshop on small-scale mining when he made the statement before members of Provincial Mining Regulatory Boards or PMRBs nationwide. Lascano is the chairperson of the policy working group that deliberates on possible revisions in the said IRR, which provides for the creation and approval of peoples’ small-scale mines or popularly known as Minahang Bayan.
“We are not guaranteeing that the proposals will be part of the revised IRR, but we will make sure that they will be included in the discussions,” Lascano explained during the open forum of “Towards Mainstreaming EITI in PMRBs”, held on 25 June 2018 in Pasay City.
PMRBs regulate small-scale mines, and administer the application of Minahang Bayan in their respective areas. Approval of Minahang Bayan applications, however, has been suffering bottlenecks in recent years due to requirements that are deemed as stringent as the requirements for large scale mines.
Other issues identified in the current process of formalizing small-scale mines include the difficulty of securing permits from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples as mining areas are usually located in ancestral domains. Likewise, seeking clearance from large scale mining operators is another requirement that artisanal miners of gold, silver, and chromite are disputing.
The formalization of small-scale miners is an essential process that would enable the government to properly monitor revenues generated by artisanal mining. Although small-scale mines are widely believed to be generating about half of the country’s total revenues from mining, there is no official data yet on the sector’s actual contribution to the economy.
PH-EITI advocates the inclusion of Minahang Bayan in its annual country reports. As such, it also supports the streamlining of procedures for the approval of Minahang Bayan applications.
The transparency initiative has organized the event to capacitate PMRBs and small-scale mining stakeholders for the pilot inclusion of Minahang Bayan among reporting entities in the upcoming 5th PH-EITI country report. Aside from engaging in panel discussions, participants were required to do a workshop on an appropriate reporting template for small-scale mines.
PH-EITI drills stakeholders on data analysis
Turning raw data into relevant information was a competence mining stakeholders had successfully enhanced after going through PH-EITI’s data analysis drills.
ReadMembers of PH-EITI Multi-stakeholder Group, and representatives of EITI implementing agencies were participants of “Deep Data Dive”, a data analysis workshop held on 10-11 May 2018 at the Department of Finance in Pasay City.
The workshop meant to raise stakeholder awareness on PH-EITI data and disclosures. It trained participants to develop strategies to communicate data to end users, and formulate data-driven policies.
Deep Data Dive involved exercises on using tools such as online data management applications. In one session, PH-EITI unveiled the Extractives Data Generator or EDGE Tool, an online portal of PH-EITI datasets collected since the start of EITI implementation in the Philippines.
There were also sessions on pitching and data visualization.
Following its success, Deep Data Dive will be rolled out in the regions as part of the 2018 PH-EITI Roadshow.
Sowing Seeds: PH prepares to mainstream extractive disclosures
The Philippines is beginning to streamline initiatives on extractive disclosures as global EITI implementation moves toward mainstreaming.
ReadThe Philippines is beginning to streamline initiatives on extractive disclosures as global EITI implementation moves toward mainstreaming.
At its 52nd Multi-stakeholder Group (MSG) meeting in June 2018, PH-EITI unveiled the Systematic Extractives Electronic Disclosures or SEED Initiative, an undertaking aimed at making EITI mainstreaming a reality.
Mainstreaming, or systematic disclosure, is about making transparency an integral and routine feature of governance and management systems in each EITI implementing country. PH-EITI developed the SEED Initiative following pronouncements by EITI International Board encouraging countries to move forward with systematic disclosures in two to five years’ time to make reporting more efficient and cost-effective.
The MSG, through a working group, already mapped out indicators needed for systematic disclosure, and tackled how the entire mainstreaming implementation could move forward from there. Of 28 disclosures, 15 were identified as “low-hanging fruits” or those mainstreaming goals that would be easier to reach. Six disclosures may be limited in nature or may have potential legal barriers, while the remaining six are not applicable to the Philippines.
By the end of 2018, the initiative aims to launch a roadmap and a work plan for systematic disclosure in the Philippines. To do this, implementing government agencies, and companies will be assessed in September 2018 to determine their capacity to go mainstream.
PH-EITI report to include revenues from Minahang Bayan, other new data
Each year, PH-EITI introduces new data in its annual reports, this time being the pilot coverage of small-scale mines or Minahang Bayan.
ReadEach year, PH-EITI introduces new data in its annual reports, this time being the pilot coverage of small-scale mines or Minahang Bayan.
The Fifth PH-EITI Country Report, which will cover disclosures of government revenues from extractives in 2017, is envisioned to be more comprehensive. It is expanding its scope to include for the first time revenue data on approved people’s small-scale mining areas or Minahang Bayan. PH-EITI recently organized a consultation-workshop with Provincial Mining Regulatory Boards for the said purpose
Aside from that, the fifth report will contain data on the top 20 large-scale non-metallic companies in terms of sales. Reporting of payments from non-metallic mining was piloted in the Fourth Country Report that covered fiscal years 2015 and 2016. Only five companies participated in the said reporting cycle.
Following the completion of a scoping study on Beneficial Ownership (BO), the PH-EITI Multi-stakeholder Group (MSG) also green lighted the pilot reporting on Beneficial Ownership with the BO declaration form prescribed by the EITI International Secretariat as the working reporting template. The first BO reporting is voluntary, and will cover only three companies per sector namely metallic, non-metallic, and oil and gas. It is tagged as a “diagnostic pilot” as it is intended to help surface issues and areas of improvement in future reporting.
The fifth report will also be the first to employ the ORE or the Online Reporting in the Extractives Tool, a web-based system that would replace manual paper reporting. The tool will be rolled out in the latter legs of the PH-EITI Roadshow in August 2018.
For the fifth consecutive year, Isla Lipana and Co. PwC Philippines will serve as the independent administrator for PH-EITI’s country report.
The PH-EITI Secretariat already released requests for BIR waivers. Collation of data is expected to be completed by the end of August 2018. PH-EITI hopes to publish the fifth report on 31 October 2018, months ahead of the deadline.
Open Governance: PH-EITI champions transparency in OGP forums
Impacts of EITI implementation in the Philippines have exemplified the contribution of transparency and accountability in governance and sustainable development.
ReadImpacts of EITI implementation in the Philippines have exemplified the contribution of transparency and accountability in governance and sustainable development.
In a high level Open Government Partnership or OGP conference in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) on 26-27 June 2018, PH-EITI technical policy specialist Marco Zaplan advocated transparency in resource governance as he shared PH-EITI’s experience in engaging with the Philippine OGP.
“The main importance of EITI is that citizens, the owners of natural resources benefit from their natural resources… There has to be high transparency and accountability in the (extractive) sector for that to happen,” a local newspaper in PNG quoted Zaplan.
Transparency and accountability are values espoused by both PH-EITI, and OGP, a voluntary international initiative co-founded by the Philippines in 2011, and spearheaded locally by the Department of Budget and Management. EITI implementation, in fact, is a continuing commitment of the Philippines under OGP.
Zaplan explained that if communities do not know the benefits due them from the extraction of their resources, and the social and environmental impacts of such activities, they cannot meaningfully engage in resource governance.
Transparency in small-scale mining
Meanwhile, in an earlier OGP event, the significance of transparency had been impressed in the management of local small-scale mines.
Zaplan represented PH-EITI as a resource person and facilitator at the OGP-South Cotabato Action Plan Co-creation Workshop that was held on 21 June 2018 at Koronodal City, South Cotabato.
During the workshop, stakeholders of OGP-South Cotabato forged commitments to strengthen good governance, and build a culture of integrity through the OGP-Local Program.
One of the commitments was the integration of the EITI Standard and establishment of transparency systems in the small-scale mining, quarrying, and energy industries of the province.