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PH-EITI National Conference 2018 Cimatu: Include small-scale mining sectors in future reports

By MICHELLE YVONNE CLERIGO

THE state of the small-scale mining sector in the country, the bigger slice of the extractive industry pie, must be included in the future reports of Philippines Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI).

This is the core of the message of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Roy A. Cimatu read by Atty. Analiza Rebueltah-Teh, Undersecretary of Climate Change Service and Mining Sector of DENR during the 2018 National Conference held at Philippine International Convention Center, April 18, Wednesday.

This year’s PH-EITI National Conference with the theme Moving Beyond Transparency: Galvanizing Open ENR (Environment and Natural Resources) brought together stakeholders from national and local governments, extractive companies, civil service organizations (CSOs), academe, students, development partners and the media from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to advance and elevate the discourse on extractives transparency.

Rebueltah-Teh, reading Cimatu’s message, said that there is a need for greater participation by small-scale stakeholders to be able to gauge more accurately the benefits versus the cost of natural resources development.

“This will ensure the complete valuation of resources including environmental resources. Eventually this will result in higher payments to the government in form of taxes, royalties and fees,” she added.

DENR also ensure strict compliance in the regulation and the participation of the mining contractors in the PH-EITI.

Moreover, Department of Finance undersecretary, Atty. Bayani H. Agabin, extends his warm welcome and congratulatory remarks to PH-EITI for elevating the discourse on extractives and said that department is looking forward to more success in the future.

The conference also saw the launching of the fourth PH-EITI report, the flagship product of PH-EITI, headed by Marco Angelo S. Zaplan, Technical Policy Specialist, PH-EITI Secretariat, followed by the Transparency Talks (T Talks) by leaders from different sectors.

Launching of the Fourth PH-EITI report

The fourth PH-EITI Report is the most comprehensive report with 1, 431 pages covering two fiscal years 2015-2016. In 2016, 36 companies under PH-EITI paid the government P27.5B reconciled revenues and of these companies, five were from oil and gas industry, 25 from metallic companies and five from non-metallic companies.

Of these reconciled revenues, more than P12B were collected by Bureau of Internal Revenue and Department of Energy.

The report also covered seven national government agencies and 61 and 57 local government units (LGUs) for 2015 and 2016, respectively.

“We are fortunate that so much data and so much information have been made available to us. Bu the truth is all these data will just be data but what we do with them is what makes a huge difference.” Zaplan said.

Transparency Talks (T-Talks)

The conference also featured 15-minute talks from industry leaders and from media fellows from the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) – PH-EITI Media Fellowship Program.

The participating speakers from various sectors were Augusto S. Blanco, Jr., Leader of Kaimunan Lumad Sang Compostela; Jose E. Dalaga, Jr., Asst. Vice President for Social Commitments of Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.; and Beverly F. Besmanos, Bantay Kita Subnational Coordinator for Mindanao.

The media presenters were Rhayds Barcia of The Manila Times, Rappler and Bicol Mail Correspondent; Mark Raymund L. Garcia of The Visayan Daily Star; and Lina Sagaral-Reyes of Manila Times, Mindanao Observer and Mindanao Daily.

Open forums followed the T-Talks to enable audience to raise questions and to facilitate discussion among stakeholders and implementing agencies.

PH-EITI also bestowed Transparency Awards to national government agency/ies, local government units, companies, and civil society organizations for outstanding performance and achievement in the implementation and advancement of EITI in the Philippines.

The PH-EITI will also conduct its 1st National Resource Governance Student Conference tomorrow, April 19, in partnership with Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and Petroleum Association of the Philippines, to bring together student university leaders to discuss the pressing resource governance issues in the Philippines.|-#BALIKAS_News