ITOGON, Benguet –Some 200 residents from three districts of barangay Ampucao, here, trooped last Friday to the chapel grounds of Sitio Sta. Fe, along Kennon Rd., to avail of free health-care services provided by Philex Mining Corp., in partnership with the municipality’s medical staff.
Doctors, dentists, nurses, and medical technologists from the miner’s Padcal mine, hosted by Tuba and Itogon, and the government of Mayor VictorioPalangdan administered medical and dental check-ups, tooth extraction, and tests for blood type, glucose, cholesterol, and uric acid to the residents of the barangay’s Sitios Sta. Fe, Banget, and Sal-angan.
Dubbed “Medical & Dental Mission,” the one-day event was part of a series of celebrations in the run-up to Philex Mining’s 60th anniversary on Nov. 19. The gold-and-copper producer also has lined up a number of activities—such as a night of cultural presentations, sports fest, and on-the-spot poster-making contest—for the months-long celebrations.
“This event marks our good partnership not only with the residents of this barangay, but also with the government of Itogon,” Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex Mining and Padcal resident manager, said in a speech before the start of registration of beneficiaries for the Sept. 16 medical mission. “Philex Mining is always ready to help you, especially in terms of social development and health care.”
After having their medical check-ups and undergoing dental procedure, the residents received free vitamins (for children and elders) and medicines like painkillers and antidotes for fever and respiratory illnesses.
“Our sitio is gifted with loving people who are helpful to us,” Benita Amgasen, a mother of two and a resident of the district of Sta. Fe who had her blood sugar checked, said. “I am thankful that Philex Mining has brought its free health-care services to our sitio. At this time, at least, we need not trek to the barangay clinic or hospital for our health and dental problems.”
Norma Pis-oy, a barangay midwife in Ampucao, expressed gratitude that Philex Mining has been faithful to its corporate social responsibility through the implementation of various social-development projects, noting that the local government “has a limited supply of medicines” and doesn’t have enough number of medical personnel to serve its constituents.
“Health-care missions like this is very empowering on my part because as a registered nurse and a former PusongPhilex scholar, I get a chance to learn, enhance, and apply my skills and knowledge, especially to my tribesmen,” Jerry Cayamdas, who is now connected with Itogon’s Municipal Health Office, said. “I am also blessed to be of help to the outlying communities of Philex, as well as work with the medical team and other employees in the mining industry.”
Padcal mine’s Community Relations (ComRel) Dept., which is in charge of implementing Philex Mining’s social projects on health, education, livelihood, and public infrastructure, said the next medical and dental mission will be conducted in SitioAlang, of Tuba’s Brgy. Camp 3.
On Aug. 16, Philex Mining kicked off the months-long celebrations of its 60th year of operations grounded on responsible mining with the launch of “Nature-Nurture Activity,” an environmental-protection event held at Padcal’s decommissioned and rehabilitated Tailings Storage Facility No. 1 (TSF1), in Sito Sal-angan.
Some 300 stakeholders had planted 5,000 different species of trees in two hectares of land in the 26-ha. TSF1.
Victor Francisco, VP for Environment and ComRel at Philex Mining, has said the company had spent a total of P25.2 million for its health-care program in the host and neighboring communities in Tuba and Itogon between 2003 and 2015. He added that besides having provided free health-care services to its beneficiaries, Philex Mining had constructed health centers and sanitary facilities in the outlying villages.