Norway-based Filipina lawyer is ASIA Director and Anti-Corruption Lead at the Executive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) International Secretariat.
Text by Luz Bergersen, images by Atty. Ordenes, Oslo
Rawmags is privileged to connect with Attorney Marie Gay Alessandra Ordenes who came to Oslo in 2016 to fulfill a new mandate to address corruption risks in the extractive sector through transparency and accountability mechanisms.
What contributions do Filipinos carry to the workplace?
We should always be proud of what we can contribute. We Filipinos are known for being reliable and for our good work ethic. Our voices as citizens of a developing country could enrich global discussions on poverty reduction and corruption mitigation because we have practical experiences to share. This is more important than theories.
What is Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative? What does it aim to achieve?
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) was formed in June 2003. Its headquarters is in Oslo and has a membership of 57 countries. EITI is the global standard for good governance of natural resources, specifically minerals, oil and gas. Its objective is to address corruption risks in the extractive sector through transparency and accountability mechanisms.
The EITI Standard is currently implemented by resource-rich countries that seek to maximize the benefits of mineral and oil extraction for economic and social development.
We support governments, companies, and civil society in advancing reforms to make the extractive sector accountable. Core to our work is requiring governments and companies to publish information about their extractive activities from licensing, production, revenue collection and revenue allocation.
As Asia Director for the EITI, I lead our work in the region by providing strategic direction and oversight on how the EITI could be used by countries to strengthen their natural resource governance.
A huge part of my work is providing technical support to governments and civil society to improve policies and government systems so that they are able to promote transparency and accountability in governing their extractive sector.
In addition to being Asia Director, I also lead the EITI’s work on anti-corruption. I provide advice to countries on best practices in corruption mitigation in mining, oil, and gas projects. I also drive our global policy on contract transparency and beneficial ownership transparency to end anonymity to company ownership. Knowing the terms of extractive contracts is key to fighting corruption because it helps citizens understand whether they are getting a fair deal.
Knowing who owns the companies and who ultimately benefits from extractive projects enables countries to evaluate whether revenues from resource extraction flow to citizens. Anti-corruption measures are very important now that the world is transitioning to net zero to mitigate the impact of climate change. I’m also part of the senior management team of EITI, which enables me to contribute to office policies and organisational management.
What current projects do you lead ?
I currently lead the implementation of the Opening Extractives Programme, a project we started in 10 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America that aims to end company anonymity. We provide technical support to these countries as they implement legal and technical reforms to make sure that companies investing in extractive projects are owned by legitimate actors and are not using the sector for illicit purposes.
I am also leading our organisation’s policy work in advancing good governance of transition minerals, e.g. the minerals that will be necessary for renewable energy projects. To achieve this, we are currently revising the EITI Standard to reflect new provisions that will advance our work on anti-corruption.
Do you have any message for the Euro-Filipino community?
I hope to connect with more Filipinos in Europe especially those working on anti-corruption so we can start a community of practice and find ways to share our views with each other and with our counterparts in the Philippines.
Atty. Marie Gay Alessandra V. Ordenes’ professional and academic background:
*Asia Director & Anti-Corruption Lead, Executive Industries, Transparency Initiative,
March 2016 – present
*National Coordinator, Philippine Extractive Industries, Transparency Initiatives, June 2013-Feb 2016
*Technical (Legal) Adviser, Office of the President, September 2011 – March 2013
In this capacity, Atty. Ordenes investigated graft and corruption cases for prosecution of public officials and provided direct legal advice and recommended policies to cabinet members.
*Court Attorney, Philippine Court of Appeals, March 2005 to September 2011
In this capacity, Atty. Ordenes conducted research and assisted an Appellate Court Justice in drafting decisions and resolutions.
She obtained her Bachelor of Laws (LlB) degree from the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Q.C. (June 1996-April 2000), and Bachelor in Political Science, UP Diliman (April 1996).