Heart day – not hurt day

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It’s almost half past the month of “Hearts,” take note, not “Hurts.” When we speak of the “Heart,” from the inside and coming from the outside, it will surely ease all the “Hurts” we are treasuring inside us. Gets mo? Believe me!

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Many are surely excited as the clock is ticking towards the “Red Day” – the day of love on the 14th of this month. Sure I am also excited like what I felt almost twenty years before. With the love of my eyes, my wife and our two kida, a relatively small family compared to our respective origins with my real time and life time partner, blessed daily by the grace from the Lord, how can I be hurt? It is always a “Heart Day”!

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In our beloved City of Baguio and the nearby equally gorgeous towns of Benguet that surround it, you can feel the excitement in the air that is usually manifested by the throng and flock of guests and visitors coming from almost all directions. You have to agree with me that no part of our country can equal the atmosphere that Baguio and Benguet give to our visitors and its residents – the cool and cold (redundant, eh?) weather and the Panagbenga season is always the best seller. The downside though is tons and tons of garbage and bumper-to-bumper vehicle and foot traffic. But since it is a “Heart” month, no one is complaining. Just feel and enjoy it.

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Digressing, this space should give way to a very good piece about mining – in that copper mine called “Padcal Mine” written by Mr. Nestor Hilario that saw print in a national daily. It speaks of a company that practices good corporate responsibility. And his piece goes this way – How important is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program for a company? For Philex Mining Corp., it is an integral part of good governance. That’s the reason it has gained respect and recognition as the face of responsible mining in the country.”

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“In November last year Philex was hailed as the top publicly listed company (PLC) in corporate governance among 263 participants in the local bourse during the first Asean Corporate Governance Scorecard Awards held in the country. Philex was also among the top 50 PLCs in the Asean region in the field. Philex was, likewise, named as one of the top 5 firms in corporate governance in the highly prestigious Fourth Annual Philippines Stock Exchange Bell Awards held in the same month.”

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“In the area of sustainability, Philex bested other local and regional companies by being named as one of the top 5 CSR companies in Asia during the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability (Aces) Awards night held in Singapore. The Aces Awards are handed out to companies that have carried out significant CSR campaigns, or implemented policies and structures that generate returns going beyond financial gain. While these accolades do not directly contribute to the bottom line, investors appreciate and reward companies that demonstrate strong corporate governance and CSR platforms.”

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“Recently, Philex’s share price slowly climbed from P3.91 per share at the end of January to P4.68 per share as of February 4 and has, in fact, outperformed the Philippine Stock Exchange index, which has fallen by 1 percent during the same period. Gold prices in the world market have rallied to around $1,155 per ounce from $1,128 per ounce. While a correlation between gold prices and Philex’s share price performances can be surmised, it is an incontrovertible fact that sound corporate-governance practices and an effective CSR program—two characteristics that are deeply embedded in and imprinted in the company’s DNA—serve to enhance the value of an organization.”

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“Philex’s successful CSR programs are taking place amid the decline in the Philippine mining industry. The country has $1.4 trillion worth of untapped mineral reserves, including gold, copper and nickel, according to industry estimates. The Philippines produced metals worth a record $3.1 billion in 2014, when it was the world’s top nickel producer, contributing more than 18 percent of global supply. But mining contributed just 0.7 percent to the GDP in 2013, as compared, for instance, to 8.3 percent for South Africa during the same period. This was attributed to complicated application procedures and intense anti-mining sentiment among indigenous peoples claiming ancestral domain.”

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“Under the Aquino administration, the contribution of the mining industry to economic growth has not substantially improved because of a moratorium on new mining permits in 2012. It is now open to lifting the moratorium, but it also wants to levy higher taxes on newly approved mines and on mines whose permits would be renewed. Under the new tax system, the government’s share of revenue over the lifetime of a mine would increase to between 64 percent and 72 percent, from 59 percent.”

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“In other words, this would really make mining uncompetitive as it would deter new mining firms from coming in, and would drive those already operating here out of business.” Well, let us see if this will be reversed after the national and local elections in this year of the “fire monkey.”

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