Climate and Environment

Philippine withdrawal from mining transparency initiative removes checks, balances in industry — groups

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Philippine withdrawal from mining transparency initiative removes checks, balances in industry � groups
A huge lagoon of copper mine tailings are impounded in containment area that used to be an open pit mine of the Marcopper Mining Corporation in this town in central Marinduque island 30 March 1996. The waste pit said to contain about 30 million tons of copper mine waste spilled through a sealed underground tunnel into Boac river 24 March killing all aquatic life.
AFP/Romeo Gacad

MANILA, Philippines (Updated, 4:35 p.m.) — Environmental groups condemned the withdrawal of the Philippines from a global initiative on extractives transparency, saying it removes any checks and balances in the mining industry.

In a letter addressed to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Finance chief Carlos Dominguez expressed the country's withdrawal over what he called a “subjective, biased and unfair” quality assurance assessment.

“The Philippines has no confidence in the ability of the EITI to undertake an impartial, transparent, and evidence-based validation process,” Domiguez said. 

EITI is a global coalition of companies, civil society, and governments working together to improve accountability in the management of revenues from oil, gas, metals, and minerals. 

Membership in the initiative entails a commitment to “disclose information on each member country’s extractive industry value chain.”

In a statement, Alyansa Tigil Mina said it is a “concrete example of the government’s betrayal to its environmental and transparency commitments and its continuing patronage to irresponsible mining in the Philippines.”

“This withdrawal from EITI eventually exposes the pretentious effort of the Duterte government to promote “responsible mining”, as it backs out from a legitimate, robust and internationally accepted process.  We are proven right, that ‘responsible mining’ is indeed fake news,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of ATM. 

The group also criticized the unilateral decision of the government in withdrawing from the EITI, noting that there should be at least the informed consent of the other members from the mining industry and civil society. 

Despite the withdrawal from EITI, Dominguez said that the Philippines has the process, systems and manpower to ensure transparency in the extractives sector. 

‘Harder to demand accountability’ 

In December 2021, the Duterte government lifted the nationwide ban on open-pit mining in a bid to bring more money into the Philippines after the economic slowdown brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also lifted a nine-year-old ban on new mining agreements in April of the same year. 

Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment said that it will be harder for people’s organizations to demand accountability from the government for any failures to protect natural resources following the withdrawal from EITI. 

“It can easily whitewash any accidents or ill-effects that result from mining projects,” said Leon Dulce, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE. 

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said this week that he wants to ensure that mining operations in the Philippines are “environmentally neutral.”

Dulce challenged the incoming administration to allow scrutiny of its mining plans, including projects it will allow. 

“The people deserve to know how mining companies will use our natural resources and what's in it for each stakeholder. The lack of transparency measures will only make the mining industry more prone to abuse,” he said. 

vuukle comment




  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with