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TUBA, Benguet – The management of the Philex Mining Corporation was able to extend some P12.9 million assistance to its host and neighboring communities as part of the company’s anti-Coronavirus Disease 2019 operations pursuant to the mandate of the government through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Based on the data obtained from the MGB-CAR, the assistance that had been extended by Philex to the host and neighboring communities were sourced out from the realigned portion of the company’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) budget for this year.
Bulk of the assistance which amounted to P11.5 million were given to the host and neighboring communities of the company, particularly Ampucao and Dalupirip in Itogon town and Camp 3, Camp 1 and Ansagan in Tuba town.
On the other hand, assistance worth P1.4 million, mostly in the form of personal protective equipment (PPEs), were given to the non-impacted areas of Tuba, Sablan and Tublay towns, Baguio City, Benguet provincial government and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
MGB-CAR regional director Engr. Fay W. Apil claimed that the provision of assistance by mining companies is part of their mandated enshrined in a memorandum authorizing the realignment of some of the projects under their SDMP purposely for anti-COVID operations to help combat the rapid spread of the deadly virus and mitigate the impact of the outbreak to the economy and sources of livelihood of the people in their host and neighboring communities.
Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mining companies are mandated to allocate a certain percentage of their mining and milling cost for their SDMP projects that will be identified in close coordination with their host and neighboring communities to help spur economic growth in the said areas and provide sustainable sources of livelihood for the people even beyond their projected operations.
The MGB-CAR official disclosed that the realignment of funds earlier programmed for SDMP projects is applicable to all mining companies operating in the different parts of the country that is why companies are mandated to submit to the agency their weekly reports on their compliance to the MGB memorandum to ensure that the presence of the mining companies extending the needed help to the affected communities will be felt by the people, especially that the impact of the COVID outbreak is enormous.
She added that Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC), Benguet Corporation (BC), and Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc. (ISRI) were also required to submit their detailed reports on their compliance to the MGB order requiring the same to actively participate in the government’s anti-COVID operations through the provision of whatever available assistance to the people in their host and neighboring communities.
Philex President and Chief Executive Officer Engr. Eulalio B. Austin, Jr. assured the MGB-CAR that the mining company will continue to closely coordinate with the host and neighboring communities to ascertain their priority needs to allow the company to possibly work out the continuous provision of whatever allowable assistance to allow the affected and impacted residents to cope with the heavy impact of the enhanced community quarantine to the economy in their places and the sources of livelihood of the people.