Press Room RSS feed for this section

Group for Transparency in the Mining Industry to be Formed

The Philippine equivalent of the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is being formally organized in the Philippines. Action for Economic Reforms (AER) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), in cooperation with PWYP, Revenue Watch, and 11.11.11, organized a two-day workshop on 13-14 October 2009 towards forming a network that likewise serves as an institute that will advocate transparency of contracts, revenues, spending and the whole value chain of the extractive industries. Given, the pressing concerns, the composition of the group, and the resource constraints, the focus of the advocacy, at least on the early stage, is mining.

Thirty-two (32) representatives, representing 19 organizations participated in the two-day workshop. The participating individuals and organizations came from different sectors. Some are environmental groups; others focus on transparency issues. A few individuals or groups work on economic issues (e,g., taxation) And a significant number are groups opposed to or critical of the way extractive industries are being done in the Philippines.

Taxes in the Philippines

Half of the population of the Philippines live in poverty. If multinationals were to pay the correct amount of taxes, the Philippines government would have more resources to help people like Wilson Manuba, a disabled fisherman who isn’t getting the medical care he desperately needs to treat his life-threatening illness…

{youtube}gA8OgyzQvjA{/youtube}

This video was produced by Christian Aid. The key informants for this video were Undersecretary Gil Beltran of the Department of Finance and Filomeno Sta. Ana III, the Coordinator of Action for Economic Reforms.

Policy Forum on Local Economic Development

As recent headlines tell about President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s
alleged USD 20,000 dinner in a New York City restaurant while millions
of Filipinos go hungry, a low-key forum last week gathering heads of
local governments from north to south of the Philippines showed that
the country still has a wealth of stories on good governance,
transparency and accountability.

The Policy Forum on Local Economic Development, organized by the
non-government Galing Pook Foundation, gathered in Makati City about 15
local government leaders whose programs in their respective provinces,
cities or towns have shown that amid the deep-seated distrust on
government people, there are local government units (LGUs) who keep
making good in helping their people enjoy the fruits of meaningful
socio-economic growth, good health and clean environment.

What
was remarkable in the forum was that the LGU executives came from
different political leanings. Some even came from opposing political
parties or for a certain time, were direct political opponents. But
what bound them was the recognition, through Galing Pook’s annual
awards in good governance, of their programs in recent years for
effectively addressing local economy, health of the people,
environmental issues and declining agricultural conditions brought
about by unsustainable practices.

Focus on development, not just staying afloat

MEASURES TAKEN by the Philippines to keep the economy afloat amid the global slowdown — more public spending and wider access to credit — are correct but policy makers should particularly devote resources to achieving economic development in the medium to long term, a United Nations (UN) official said.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram, UN assistant secretary-general for economic development, said developing countries such as the Philippines should increase investments toward the development of industries.

The Global Financial Crisis and Asia

Developing countries will “bear the brunt of the financial crisis originating in the US and other developed countries.” All economies will in fact be affected by the crisis, albeit differently, contrary to the view that emerging markets are “decoupled” from the US economy.

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Jomo K. Sundaram gave this assessment in a public lecture on the Global Financial Crisis and Asia held at the Ateneo de Manila University on February 23, 2009. It is interesting to note that the UN was the only multilateral institution that warned of an impending financial crisis as early as 2006.