Mining, LGU dealings to come under closer scrutiny–Dominguez

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THE government has its eyes keenly trained on so-called extractive industries, such as mining, and recently ordered the monitoring of their contributions to the nation’s coffers via the electronic receipt and expenditure system, or eSRE.

This developed after the Department of Finance (DOF) ordered local government treasurers to include in their financial reports all environment and natural-resource transactions, particularly payments made by mining and allied industries.

According to the DOF, local treasurers should report on an annual and quarterly basis the fiscal and financial operations of their respective local government units (LGUs) through the eSRE.

Under Department Order (DO) 049-2016, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III mandated local treasurers to include in their regular eSRE reports all payments made by extractive industries along with the detailed account of their share from the nation’s wealth and their expenditures using the receipts and collections.

Other monetary and nonmonetary benefits received by LGUs from the extractive industries must also be included in their quarterly eSRE reports.

“It’s high time for local treasurers to properly account for what the extractive and related sectors contribute to local economies, and how the local communities benefit from them and from the utilization of their natural resources,” Dominguez said.

Under the new directive, local treasurers submit their reports through a Web-based environment and natural resources data-management tool (ENRDMT), a data management system associated with the eSRE system maintained by the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF). The eSRE is the official fiscal and financial-management reporting system for the LGUs to the DOF and BLGF.

The Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) and the Philippines Poverty-Environment Initiative (PPEI), under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme and the UN Environment Programme, has supported the development of the ENRDMT, according to BLGF Officer in Charge (OIC) Niño B. Alvina.

Alvina said the BLGF, in coordination with the DOF and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), is leading the training and rollout of the new policy on the Web-based reporting platform, which started on
October this year.

The previously issued DO 8-2011 of the DOF, mandated the official reporting and monitoring of all LGU fiscal and financial operations via the eSRE.

Dominguez has directed local treasurers to include in their eSRE reports the following direct and nondirect payments made by the extractive industries to their LGUs, namely, local taxes, fees and other charges; receipts of shares from national wealth in their localities; expenditures of LGUs coming from receipts and collections from the extractive industries and shares from national wealth; and such other monetary and nonmonetary benefits received by LGUs from extractive industries and shares from national wealth.

In recent reports, Dominguez ordered the imposition of penalties on local treasurers for the mishandling of government funds. He ordered the BLGF to dismiss from the service municipal treasurer Angelita Roble of Tudela, Cebu, and to suspend for one year without pay Local Treasury Operations Officer IV Marilou Rivera, OIC of the Office of the Provincial Treasurer in Misamis Oriental.

Municipal treasurer Cherryl Aguirre of Valladolid, Negros Occidental, was also suspended for three months without pay, and municipal treasurer Rosita Siniclang of Emilio, Ilocos Sur, for one month and one day. The aforementioned was found guilty by the Ombudsman of serious dishonesty, and also being found guilty of oppression and neglect of duty, among others.