“Covering the Extractive Industries, Digging Out Stories that Matter” is a training and fellowship program for media practitioners done by PH-EITI in collaboration with the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) to engage “the fourth estate” and help make reportage and public discourse on the extractives more data-driven, nuanced, and balanced.
Established in 1964 and known as the country’s national association of newspapers, PPI is considered the oldest professional media organization in the Philippines. PPI has 18 member publications in Luzon, 23 in Visayas, and 17 in Mindanao. It also has 13 members in the National Capital Region, including leading daily newspapers.
As part of the program, a workshop was conducted on March 8 at the Philippine International Convention Center, where recipients of the fellowship grants presented updates on the development of their stories.
The stories or angles being pursued by the fellows relate to issues on lack of development planning for host communities, informal small-scale mining (non-metallic), occupational health and safety, political interests in mining, and technological efficiency in processing minerals, among others.
In a brief talk, Department of Finance Assistant Secretary and PH-EITI Alternate Focal Person Ma. Teresa Habitan underscored the value of improving the quality of reporting on the extractives.
“For the longest time, the media have not really allowed us to mature as a society. What we hear and what we see in the news should provoke our thoughts,” Asec. Habitan said.
Other speakers for the workshop were Shell Philippines Exploration Finance Director Ms. Lorelie Osial, Tebtebba Foundation Program Coordinator Atty. Jing Corpuz, and Radio Kodao Productions Director Mr. Raymund Villanueva.
PPI Executive Director Ariel Sebellino and Training Director Tess Bacalla served as the facilitators. Together with PH-EITI National Coordinator Atty. Karla Espinosa, they also sat as reactors to the presentations.
Prior to the fellowship workshop, the program had equipped participants with relevant knowledge and skills in covering the extractive sector through a nationwide training that covered three clusters of journos -- Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
PPI took charge of the overall training design, which included lectures, panel discussions, writeshops, and presentation and critiquing of stories.
Several mining companies cooperated in the activity by accommodating or facilitating field and community visits by the participants.
A total of 14 journalists joined the Visayas training in Cebu City on December 7-9, 2017. They visited Toledo City where Carmen Copper Corp. operates.
In Mindanao, 20 participated in the training in Surigao City on January 4-6, 2018. Taganito Mining Corp. in Claver facilitated the participants’ field and community visit.
Baguio City was the venue of the Luzon leg, which took place on January 10-12, 2018. A total of 23 journalists from all over Luzon participated. Lepanto Mining Corp. in Mankayan, Benguet provided resource persons for the seminar.
PH-EITI hopes the media training and fellowship program will translate to more infromed and enlightened journalism on the extractives through the use of (EITI) data.
The top stories from the writing fellowship would be unveiled during the PH-EITI National Conference in April.