Issue of August 6, 2017
     
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Benguet
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OPINION
 

69th Courier Anniversary Issue
 
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Inclusion of genuine IP groups in PH–EITI committee pushed
by Jane B. Cadalig

The inclusion of indigenous peoples groups as a member of the government-led initiative created to ensure transparency on how much revenues are derived by firms from the extraction of the country’s natural resources and how these are used is being pushed.

Former National Commission on Indigenous Peoples chair Zenaida Brigida Pawid asked the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) if it was possible for genuine IP groups to be a member of the EITI’s technical working committees.

“Can the IPs – the legitimate, non-waged or non-perked be represented in the committees of the EITI so that we can be given a chance to talk, a chance to explain why it is difficult for us to say no (to mining) yet  ask the companies to please not destroy our communities?” Pawid said.

Pawid aired her sentiments during the multi-stakeholder forum of the Baguio leg of the PH-EITI roadshow.

PH-EITI is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the government, industry, and civil society organizations that report on and assess the payments made by extractive firms such as mining and oil and gas and how these funds are allotted and spent by the government and the local government units and communities hosting the operations of mining and oil and gas companies.

Among the members of the multi-stakeholder group (MSG) that implements the PH-EITI are civil society organizations.

Pawid said including legitimate IP groups as a member of the multi-stakeholder group will give the IPs better chances of being heard.

Chadwick Llanos, a member of the PH-EITI MSG representing civil society organizations, said inputs from the IPs are noted and discussed by the secretariat, adding the concerns of IPs on how their mineral resources are exploited are different from those of the civil society groups.

“We need inputs from the IPs to help us understand their concerns,” he said.

Tina Pimentel of Bantay-Kita, a coalition of CSOs advocating for transparency in the extractive industries said the group is also pushing that the membership of IP groups in the PH-EITI MSG is institutionalized.

“We recognize the interest and stand of the IPs are different from that of the CSOs. This is why we are hoping for a law that will include the IPs in the EITI multi-stakeholder group,” she said.


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