TUBA, Benguet June 03 – Philex Mining Corp. has granted new scholarship to 81 college students for this coming schoolyear 2014-2015 who hail from the outlying communities of Padcal, where the company has its gold-and-copper operations, bringing to 143 so far its scholars for this year who are and will be pursuing their degrees in various schools in Baguio City and Benguet, with a budget of P7.8 million.
Of the new scholars, 42 belong to Padcal’s College Educational Assistance (CEA) project, 15 are with the Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG), and 24 are under the Pusong Philex College Financial Assistance (PPCFA), according to Chris Cheno, a section head at the Community Relations (ComRel) Department, of Padcal operations, in Benguet.
He added that the CEA scholars, whose total number is 104, has a budget of P4.3 million, or P5 million including the P733,682 that was carried over from the 2013 fund, while the PPCFA scholars have a fund allocation of P600,000, and those under the DMTG scholarship have been allotted P1.2 million, or P2.18 million to include last year’s carryover of P983,305.
While the scholars under the CEA, which was created through Philex Mining’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), and those under DMTG, a research-and-training campaign to develop the mining industry, enjoy free full tuition and a monthly stipend, among other benefits, the PPCFA scholars get financial assistance worth 75 percent of their respective tuition fees.
“We have devised the PPCFA, which starts this year, in order to widen the scope of our scholarship project,” said Mr.n Cheno, whose team had organized a three-day orientation and value program for all the scholars recently. “Some of the applicants whom we were not able to accommodate under the CEA we accepted them through the PPCFA.”
He added that the total budget allocation would balloon come June, when ComRel announces another P5.5 million worth of scholarship for 300 elementary students, 30 of whom are new, and 300 high school students, including the 30 who are new scholars; P1.5 million for some scholars in technical/vocational (TechVoc) courses; P1 million for 50 – 80 students of the Alternative Learning System (ALS); and a yet undisclosed amount for 15 scholars of graduate studies, including law and medicine.
The primary, intermediate, and secondary scholars include those studying at the Philex Mines Elementary School and the Saint Louis High School-Philex, both at Sitio Padcal, in Tuba town’s barangay Camp 3; Twin Peaks National High School, in barangay Twin Peaks, Tuba; Evelio Javier National High School-Piminggan Annex, in SitioPiminggan, barangay Ansagan, also in Tuba; and the Ampucao National High School, in Brgy. Ampucao, Itogon.
Mr.Cheno said that while the CEA and PPCFA scholars may pursue different degrees or disciplines, the DMTG scholars all take up mining engineering at the Saint Louis University, in Baguio City.
The ALS is a ladderized, modular non-formal education program devised by the Department of Education and being supported by Philex Mining, giving dropouts and out-of-school youth a chance to finish their elementary and high school studies.
Philex Mining’s Padcal mine has a budget of P23.9 million for this year’s educational projects, including scholarship grants and support infrastructure, such as the building and repair of classrooms. This fund allocation, which increases to P26.1 million including the P2.2 million that was carried over from 2013, is part of SDMP’s 2014 budget of P86.5 million, or P76.1 million plus a carryover of P10.4 million from last year.
The company’s budget for this year’s SDMP, DMTG, and IEC (Information, Educational, and Communication) campaign is equivalent to 1.5 percent of its total operating cost of P6.77 billion for 2013, as mandated by the government’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), which regulates the mining industry. Besides education, the SDMP also covers projects on health, livelihood, and public infrastructure.
The projects are being implemented in Philex Mining’s host barangays of Camp 3, in Tuba, and Ampucao, in Itogon, and neighboring barangays of Ansagan and Camp 1 (both in Tuba) and Dalupirip (Itogon). Together, these barangays are called Padcal’s outlying communities.
By Dexter A. See