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Business

DENR hopeful on EITI status for Phl

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is optimistic that the country would achieve compliant status with the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) by 2015 given the comprehensive mining reforms that have been in place.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje made this assessment barely two weeks after the Philippines was accepted as a candidate country to join the EITI, a globally developed standard that ensures more transparency and better governance of a country’s mining resources.

Paje said the country’s inclusion to the list of EITI candidate countries is a step closer to reaching compliant status.

“This latest development is a resounding affirmation by the international community of the administration’s determination to make transparency and accountability as the centerpiece of its efforts to sustain the country’s economic development and advance inclusive growth,” Paje said.

Executive Order 79 signed by President Aquino last year, seeks to balance important concerns on mining development by reinforcing environmental protection measures, promoting responsible mining, providing a more equitable revenue-sharing scheme and providing coordinative mechanisms among stakeholders including local government units.

“When President Aquino issued EO 79, the EITI Board must have read the move as an unequivocal statement of the government’s intention to implement EITI,” Paje said.

Earlier, Paje also credited EO 79 for the country’s good showing in the recent global report issued by the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) where it received a score of 63 out of 100 under the “institutional and legal setting” as a result of its “comprehensive mining legislation” and ranked 23rd overall among 58 resource-rich countries surveyed on the quality of governance in the oil, gas and mineral sectors.

According to the New York-based policy institute, the Philippine government has made “meaningful progress toward improved resource governance.”

During its meeting in Sydney, Australia last May 22, the EITI Board approved the Philippines’ application for EITI candidate status which Paje described as a “major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve transparency and accountability in the extractive industry.”

Paje said the next step is for the government to “work doubly hard” to achieve EITI compliant status for the country by fulfilling three basic requirements, namely: preparation of EITI report, disclosure and dissemination, and review and validation.

“Becoming a full-fledged EITI member within the next two years is our ultimate goal,” Paje said.

Paje said being an EITI compliant is important for any resource-rich country because it would result in improved revenue collection and boost investment climate.

EITI is a global standard for transparency in the mining sector that involves the reconciliation of company payments with government receipts by an independent administrator and disclosure of that information to the public. The process is managed by the government with the active involvement of partners from industry and wider society.

Under EITI, all companies engaged in a country’s mineral sector report what they have paid to the government, and then the government reports what it has received. The reports from the companies and the government are compared by an independent auditor and make up what is called the country’s “EITI report.”

COUNTRY DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES EITI EXECUTIVE ORDER EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY TRANSPARENCY INITIATIVE GOVERNMENT NEW YORK PAJE PRESIDENT AQUINO REVENUE WATCH INSTITUTE
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