MANILA—Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government will be fair to extractive industries by pushing for good governance and not allowing the suspension of operations based on unseen audits and levies without legal basis.
During the 2017 National Conference of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Thursday, Dominguez said the Duterte administration will be “firm but fair” to extractive industries.
“The Duterte administration, I assure you, will be firm but fair. It is committed to bring forth strong, but not arbitrary, governance. It will abide by global best practices in ensuring sustainable development,” the finance chief said.
“Never again should suspensions be meted out on the basis of unseen audits. Never again should honest industries be subjected to levies without legal basis.”
He also mentioned that the government recognizes the contribution of the sector to the economy and in uplifting the lives of communities that host extractive industries.
“We need to encourage and not suppress extractive industries,” the cabinet secretary said.
Dominguez vowed good governance in the extractive industries, but urged the private sector to be also transparent.
He noted that weak governance in the sector has resulted in massive deforestation.
“Poor governance caused us to lose our forests without emancipating our people. That should never happen again,” Dominguez said.
“The solution is not to arbitrarily ban extractive industries, whatever contractual obligations the government has with investors. The solution is to improve governance so that we get the best of both worlds: ensuring the sustainability of our environment on one hand and creating wealth for our people from our natural endowments on the other.”
On the other hand, he sought full disclosure of private sector accounting.
“If we have full disclosure of what was taken and what was earned, then we can have a full accounting of what needs to be remediated and how much the commons deserve,” said Dominguez.