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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Diokno lauds PH-EITI’s role in enhancing mining transparency

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The Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) made progress over the past decade in improving the transparency and accountability of the extractives sector in the country, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

“With eight country reports published covering nine fiscal years, and reconciling more than P405.4 billion in government revenues, the PH-EITI has shone a spotlight on the financial flows from over one hundred extractive projects across the country,” Diokno said in his message for the 2023 Fostering Open and Responsible Governance of the Extractives (FORGE) Philippines annual national conference.

FORGE is PH-EITI’s annual national conference that allows stakeholders to raise concerns and share insights on matters affecting extractives and natural resource governance.

Civil society organizations, extractive industry firms and various government agencies convened at SEDA Manila Bay from Nov. 28 to 30 for the 2023 Extractives Transparency Week (ETW), which marked a critical dialogue on effective natural resource governance in the Philippines. The event coincides with the 10th anniversary of the PH-EITI.

PH-EITI is a multi-stakeholder group chaired by the Department of Finance and composed of representatives from the government, industry, and civil society organizations in the country.

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The group implements the EITI, which is the global standard that promotes the open, accountable management, and good governance of oil, gas, and mineral resources.

Diokno said the Philippines’ move to align itself with global EITI standards played a crucial role in strengthening the confidence of citizens in the government’s management of natural wealth.

“It has empowered citizens, civil society, and government entities to engage in informed dialogues about the industry’s operations and contributions to society. By opening up data to public scrutiny, the PH-EITI has driven reforms that have reshaped our extractive governance,” he said.

Apart from improving public understanding of the management of natural resources and increasing the transparency of data, the PH-EITI is also responsible for strengthening national resource management and increasing the extractive sector’s contribution to sustainable development.

By providing a platform to align the objectives and actions of all stakeholders, the PH-EITI can support the DOF’s proposal to reform the Philippines’ mining fiscal regime, making local mining more competitive and attractive to foreign investments.

Diokno cited data from January to July 2023 showing that the Philippines has drawn in $6.8 million in investments for mining and quarrying.

“I often say that the road to any real, meaningful change will be long and difficult, but surely rewarding. What matters is that we continue hammering on, as metalworkers do in a forge, to transform, reshape, and strengthen the extractive sector into a powerful driver of sustainable and equitable prosperity for the Philippines,” he said.

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