United States Ambassador to the Philippines Mary Kay Carlson lauded the Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association (PMSEA) for championing responsible mining which is an important intersection for decades now.
In her message during the Community Relations Conference of the 69th edition of the PMSEA’s Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference, Ambassador Carlson pointed out that PMSEA’s resolve to demonstrate that responsible mining is possible is crucial for the expansion of the mining industry
“Today, it is critical to balance the demands for mineral resources within environmental and economic sustainability,” Carlson stressed.
She disclosed that the US government continues to support efforts aimed at strengthening Philippine transparency and accountability in natural resources governance. For almost a decade now, the US government’s mission, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has supported the implementation of the Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (EITI), both at the national and local levels.
The US ambassador underscored that EITI has strengthened government reporting systems, including the proper accounting of wealth revenues from the national to local governments.
“We assisted in the establishment of an online portal for the posting of mining contracts and public disclosure of mining companies’ payments to the government,” she added.
According to her, the US Department of State and the Department of Interior have also helped through the Energy Resource Governance Initiative, promoting sound mining sector governance and resilient energy mineral supply chains.
“Our work has enhanced environmental compliance, reviewed the fiscal practices, and provided analysis for priority sectors including nickel and copper,” Ambassador Carlson stated.
She claimed that the aforesaid efforts had been actually sustained by the local partners. In Benguet, for example, she cited that the Regional Development Council – Cordillera Administrative Region (RDC-CAR) serves as a venue for multi-stakeholder engagement and discussions on natural resource governance. The said platforms have provided a means for indigenous peoples to have a greater voice in the disposition of land resources at the end of a mine’s life.
Carlson emphasized that during President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s trip to the United States in May, the White House released a fact sheet entitled ‘Investing in the Special Friendship and Alliance Between the United States and the Philippines” which set out a set of joint initiatives that the US and the Philippines pledged to pursue together, including USAID’s commitment.