Saturday, February 17, 2018
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Listen to Duterte! Siquijor solon pushes for swift passage Extractives Transparency bill

Taking a cue from President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, Siquijor Rep. Rav Rocamora has urged Congress to swiftly pass the Extractives Transparency bill, which covers mining.

Rocamora backs the approval of the House Bill 4116 or the proposed Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Law(PH-EITI), which was already referred to the House committee on natural resources last Wednesday.

The solon said that where residents of the area where mining is planned or implemented should have access to the contracts, revenue information and other important data.

“As pointed out by our President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address, there are damaging effects but there are also benefits that can be derived from mining. I believe that people, especially those that will be affected by the operations of these mining companies, deserve a clear picture of what mining will bring to their area, so they can make informed decisions and seek accountability ” Rocamora stressed.

“The President pointed out that the correct amount of taxes should be paid by mining companies. A transparency law will ensure that this happens by compelling the disclosure of revenue data and imposing stiff penalties for non-disclosure,” he added.

Though existing DENR Administrative Order 07 series of 2017 compels EITI paricipation of mining companies, the DAO is only an interim measure.

Rocamora said that a law is needed insitutionalize the process and compel disclosure not just in mining but other extractive industries.

He also added that the transparency law will have the effect of creating a check on government and mining companies by giving indigenous peoples groups a role in the multi-stake holder group (MSG) in charge of implementing the law.

“The law creates local MSGs where civil society organizations and indigenous peoples can get invovled in monitoring revenues and payments of mining activities in their respective areas. This will prevent possible corrupt practices and ensure that localities get their correct share” Rocamora said.

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