The EITI Board concluded that the Philippines has achieved a moderate overall score in EITI implementation, while urging the government to improve the environment for civil society participation.
While recognising the Philippines’ efforts in EITI implementation, the EITI Board has concluded that the objective of full, effective and active engagement by civil society is only partly met, given government constraints on freedom of expression, operation and association in the EITI process. However, it did not reach consensus on applying the safeguard mechanism related to civil society participation. The Board therefore agreed to revisit this issue at its meeting in October 2022 and will closely monitor the situation in the interim. It urged the government to take steps to improve the environment for civil society participation.
Despite a challenging environment, the Philippines’s civil society constituency is actively engaged in EITI implementation and has led international best practice in expanding the constituency to organisations in resource-rich regions and indigenous communities. Civil society has influenced the scope of the EITI, used EITI data for advocacy and analysis and actively participated in the MSG’s work.
However, Validation identified alleged instances of intimidation of civil society activists and journalists. It is possible that these are linked to the interventions or stated positions of these individuals on extractive operations or on issues concerning extractive investments. Validation also identified the apparent use of the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act to justify attempts at police intervention, judicial action or intimidation which may have limited civil society freedoms. These breaches of freedom of expression, operation and association, in some regions of the country, have had an impact on civil society’s ability to work on EITI-related topics and undertake EITI-related activities.
“The conclusion of the Validation assessment, that Requirement 1.3 was ‘partly met’ reflects serious concerns relating to the breaches of the civil society protocol,” said EITI Board Chair Helen Clark. “The corrective actions are both urgent and necessary. The decision to revisit application of the safeguard mechanism in October is an indication of the Board's intent to actively monitor the situation.”
The Philippines’ overall moderate score reflects an average of the three component scores on “Stakeholder engagement”, “Transparency” and “Outcomes and impact”. The Philippines’ very high score (97 points) in using the EITI to achieve robust outcomes and impact reflects the country’s efforts to ensure that the EITI informs debates about nationally relevant topics, such as subnational transfers and social payments.
“The way in which the country has adapted its outreach activities and made data accessible amid the COVID-19 pandemic is noteworthy.” said Helen Clark. “The EITI Board commends the Philippines for its efforts to strengthen data management systems for subnational transfers and payments, and to promote systematic disclosures.”
The Philippines joined the EITI in 2013. The country is a leading producer of nickel, a significant producer of gold and copper, and exports iron ore, chromium, zinc and silver. It also produces some oil and gas. The latest EITI disclosure for 2019 shows that the mining sector contributes 0.6% to the country’s GDP and approximately 7% to total exports.
The EITI has been used as a platform for dialogue and constructive engagement by stakeholders, and as a source of credible information to inform policies on issues of extractive sector management, such as the appropriate fiscal regime for mining. The government is implementing reforms in the mining sector, which include auditing mining companies’ compliance with environmental regulations and rules on social expenditures.
The Philippines’ 2019 EITI Report complements this effort by providing information on companies’ mandatory and voluntary social expenditures and contributions to mandatory environmental funds. PH-EITI has been proactive in ensuring public accessibility of EITI information through its dissemination and outreach channels.
Photo: Nickel mine in Claver, Philippines. Source: Shutterstock