Press Release
September 22, 2016

Villanueva pushes for 'FOI for the mining sector' bill

Senator Joel Villanueva has filed Senate Bill No. 1125 seeking for the institutionalization of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative or PH-EITI which acts as an oversight body of the extractive sector.

The EITI is an internationally recognized framework and practice that monitors revenue and public benefit from mining and other extractive resources.

In the Philippines, the EITI was created on November 26, 2013 which served as an effective platform for public disclosure of information on fees, taxes, and other payments made by mining companies.

The bill does not only cover mining but also other sectors in the extractive industry such as oil, gas, coal and all other sectors that require the extraction of non-renewable natural resources for commercial use.

"EITI is the FOi for the mining sector. I strongly believe that we have to allow the public complete access to information regarding mining so that we can make informed decisions. We have to know if benefits really outweigh the cost of a sector that has deep environmental footprints," Villanueva said.

The senator also noted that the government must make sure if the future generation is benefitting from current extraction.

"If not, then proper reforms should be implemented to ensure public benefits from extraction of our natural resources," he further explained.

The PH-EITI shall be composed of a broad coalition of stakeholders, including representatives from the government, the private sector, the indigenous community, and non-governmental organizations. It will be headed by a Chairman appointed by the President.

The bill mandates the PH-EITI to disclose all data of material national and local payments and revenues sourced from the extractive activities covered by the scope of the PH-EITI; make available to the public all concessions, contracts/licenses, agreements and joint ventures of the government; and to publicly release all data, information, reports on the extractive industries that allows the public to freely use, re-use and redistribute them, for any purpose, without restrictions.

"The extractive industry has the potential to provide livelihood opportunities, create jobs, and channel additional government resources to communities. However, the gains from the oil, gas, and mineral resources do not always translate to benefits for the public. It is through the passage of this bill wherein we could ensure that the present and future generations benefit from these finite resources," Villanueva said.

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