By Cy Dizon
MANILA — It was in 2020 when the country was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, companies shut down, employees retrenched, families suffering from hunger, and many more. While a lot of companies failed to provide aid to their employees, the mining industry does the opposite.
Around 1.1 million families and more than 300,000 frontliners residing near mining projects nationwide received aid.
According to a columnist, these areas where mining projects can be found are remote ones and “should be seen as good models of how private sector investments can develop a thriving and sustainable mining ecosystem from practically nothing”.
In Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino, 29,500 families received food supplies, medicines, and personal protection equipment from different mining companies while in Benguet province, a mining company augmented the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) for medicines in several barangays and gave cash support to families in Barangay Camp 3 in Tuba.
Quarantine facilities were also opened by some mining companies for Casubigan camp with its own hospital staff adequately equipped with PPEs and medical supplies. The company implemented mass testing and isolation protocols for those found positive, which includes free meals.
In Masbate, mining companies kept the Christmas spirit alive with food distribution for 400 families in Albay, 100 of which are indigenous people hardest hit by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. In the aftermath of the 6.6-magnitude earthquake in Masbate, P5 million was donated by the company to rebuild homes and for the relief goods of victims.
In Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte, a fully equipped, 150-bed quarantine facility was funded and P18 million was donated to the Philippine Red Cross for the establishment of a Molecular Testing Laboratory for COVID-19. About 5,000 rapid antibody test (RAT) kits were donated and 489 relief goods were distributed to IP families.
In Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, 30 barangays in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur received P25,000 “seed money” for development initiatives.
Mining companies gave a total of 92,000 sacks of rice to communities all over the country.
Large-scale mining companies have already done a lot in terms of food security, education, and livelihood even before the pandemic as they work Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) principles.
If minerals are responsibly harnessed, not only the people but the whole nation will benefit from it. Pre-pandemic, post-pandemic, responsible mining proves that it is the key to the country’s development. (ai/mtvn)