Philex spends more for environmental projects

Philex spends more for environmental projects

Press Releases

MANILA, Philippines – Philex Mining Corp. hopes to continue taking care of the environment beyond what is required by law as it spent P89.53 million, or 20.5 percent of its total budget of P436.94 million for this year’s environmental and enhancement projects, including the management of land and water resources, hazardous waste, and air quality, as well as the third-party monitoring of mine facilities.

In a report submitted to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MBG), the gold-and-copper producer said water-resource management, which covers mainly the improvement of its open spillway and the maintenance of the offset dike at its Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3), ate up P64.44 million between January and March, or 19.7 percent of its whole-year budget of P326.95 million.

It also told the MGB, a mining-industry regulator under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), that it spent P23.67 million for the various reforestation and forest-protection projects for the first three months, or 24.2 percent of the P97.87-million fund allocated for the land-resource management aspect of its 2017 Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP).

 

“We have just started implementing our reforestation projects, as we have done this annually during the rainy season starting from June until December,” Julius Bayogan, manager at the Environmental Quality Monitoring and Enhancement Dept. of Philex Mining’s operations in this town’s Sitio Padcal, said. “The other programs are done year-round or as needed.”

He added that spending for the mine rehabilitation and regular monitoring of TSF3 by a multi-sectoral committee reached P692,246 while that of air-quality management amounted to P579,100, both for the first quarter, or 36.41 percent and 22.7 percent of the respective allocated funds of P1.9 million and P2.55 million for the whole year.

“We have 14 sampling stations within the area of our operations and another 12 sampling stations in the adjoining areas of Padcal mine as part of our commitment to follow and implement regulations on clean air and water,” Eulalio Austin Jr., CEO and president of Philex Mining, said.“And we have passed all the water quality standards imposed by both local and international regulatory bodies.”

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Bayogan said money spent for the disposal and treatment of used oil, hospital waste, cupels, asbestos and transformer oil, meanwhile, reached P149,917 between January and March, or almost two percent of P7.67 million allotted for the hazardous- and toxic-waste management under the 2017 Annual EPEP (AEPEP).

Philex Mining SVP and Padcal resident manager Manuel Agcaoili said environment-related expenses for 2016 reached P446 million, or 12 percent of the company’s direct mine and milling costs of P3.696 billion for the same year. In 2015, the company shelled out P269 million for its AEPEP, or 4.5 percent of direct mine and milling costs amounting to over P6 billion.

“This means that we even exceeded what’s required of us in 2016,” he said, adding that the EPEP requires an annual spending of three to five percent of a miner’s direct mine and milling costs for the same year. “And maybe we would do the same for this year.”

 

Press Releases

TUBA, Benguet — Philex Mining Corporation spent P89.53 million, or 20.5 percent of its total budget of P436.94 million for this year’s environmental and enhancement projects.

The budget include management of land and water resources, hazardous waste, and air quality, as well as the third-party monitoring of mine facilities.

Water-resource management, which covers mainly the improvement of its open spillway and the maintenance of the offset dike at its Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3), ate up P64.44 million between January and March, or 19.7 percent of its whole-year budget of P326.95 million, the gold-and-copper producer said in a report submitted to the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

The report added Philex spent P23.67 million for the various reforestation and forest-protection projects for the first three months, or 24.2 percent of the P97.87-million fund allocated for the land-resource management aspect of its 2017 Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP).

“We have just started implementing our reforestation projects, as we have done this annually during the rainy season starting from June until December,” Julius Bayogan, manager at the Environmental Quality Monitoring and Enhancement Department said.

“The other programs are done year-round or as needed,” he added.

Bayogan said spending for the mine rehabilitation and regular monitoring of TSF3 by a multi-sectoral committee reached P692,246 while that of air-quality management amounted to P579,100, both for the first quarter, or 36.41 percent and 22.7 percent of the respective allocated funds of P1.9 million and P2.55 million for the whole year.

“We have 14 sampling stations within the area of our operations and another 12 sampling stations in the adjoining areas of Padcal mine as part of our commitment to follow and implement regulations on clean air and water,” said Eulalio Austin, Jr., CEO and president of Philex Mining.

“And we have passed all the water quality standards imposed by both local and international regulatory bodies,” he added.

Bayogan said money spent for the disposal and treatment of used oil, hospital waste, cupels, asbestos, and transformer oil, meanwhile, reached P149,917 between January and March, or almost two percent of P7.67 million allotted for the hazardous- and toxic-waste management under the 2017 Annual EPEP.

Philex Mining SVP and Padcal resident manager Manuel Agcaoili said environment-related expenses for 2016 had reached P446 million, or 12 percent of the company’s direct mine and milling costs of P3.696 billion for the same year. In 2015, the company shelled out P269 million for its AEPEP, or 4.5 percent of direct mine and milling costs amounting to over P6 billion.

“This means we even exceeded what’s required of us in 2016,” he stressed, saying the EPEP requires an annual spending of 3 to 5 percent of a miner’s direct mine and milling costs for the same year. “And maybe we would do the same for this year.” (PR)

Bishop tells youth to promote Christianity

Bishop tells youth to promote Christianity

Press Releases

GUARDIANS OF ENVIRONMENT — Bishop Victor Bendico of the Diocese of Baguio urges students from the various parishes of Benguet who gathered at Sitio Pacdal in Tuba, Benguet to care for God’s creation as an act of service to the one true God during the three-day 2nd Vicariate youth camp sponsored by the Diocese of Baguio and hosted by Philex Mining’s Padcal mine.
— Contributed Photo

TUBA, Benguet – Baguio Bishop Victor Bendico enjoined the youth to care for God’s creation, including mining environment, and reflect on their faith and promote the Christian spirit in their respective communities.

“We must all take care of our faith for this will lead us to eternity,” Bendico said in a homily during a mass held May 29 at the gymnasium of the Saint Louis High School-Philex.

Bendico also told about 250 students and other youth representatives to emulate Jesus Christ in His priestly, prophetic, and kingly actions.

“You are part of the big Christian family by virtue of your baptism, you can be prophetic by living and sharing the life of Jesus, and you can be kingly by serving others.”

He added, “Our faith also challenges us and directs us to love one God, and to care for God’s creation. You are surrounded here with beautiful mountains. You have trees, water, and clean air. Help your gimong, which is part of our hope of hope.”

The students, who came from nine of the Benguet parishes, gathered in Sitio Padcal, where Philex Mining has its gold-and-copper operations, for the 2nd Vicariate Youth Camp, a three-day event sponsored by the Diocese of Baguio and hosted by Philex Mining’s Padcal mine.

With the theme “Forming BECs that are agents of communion, participation, and mission,” the youth camp ended May 31 with a send-off mass and a boodle fight lunch for its participants.

The 1st Vicariate Youth Camp was held in May 2012 at the Immaculate Conception Parish, in Bokod, according to Angeila Greff Aratas, youth coordinator for the Sto. Niño of Prague Parish.

“We are going to grant scholarships to more students for the incoming school year, as part of our social development work for stakeholders,” Aurora Dolipas, manager of Padcal’s Community Relations Department said in her presentation during the youth camp.

“If our host and neighboring communities want us to focus more on education, then we will grant it to them.”

Philex Mining had spent P101 million between 2003 and 2016 for scholarships and other programs on quality education involving elementary, high school, college, and graduate students from its outlying communities – both host and neighboring villages.

For 2017, Philex Mining has allotted P15.7 million for its education program.

 

 

CTA tells BIR to return P58-M paid VAT to Philex

CTA tells BIR to return P58-M paid VAT to Philex

Press Releases

 

The Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) has ordered the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to return to a mining company some P58 million in unutilized input value-added tax (VAT).

In a 13-page en banc resolution, the CTA affirmed the decision of its Second Division to refund the excess tax payments to Philex Mining Corporation for the two quarters of 2012.

It said the BIR erred in denying the tax refund claim stressing that the mining firm was able to present documents showing that it sold gold, silver and copper to its foreign clients, namely; Pan Pacific Copper Limited of Japan and Louis Dreyfus Commodities Metals Suisse of Switzerland.

As a result, the court said the sale can be considered zero-rated and Philex is entitled to be refunded for all its input VAT or taxes paid in the purchases of supplies and equipment.

The court stated that the input VAT claim by Philex was not applied to its previous tax liabilities.

The court added that the BIR cannot demand what type of supporting documents the VAT taxpayer should submit, sufficed that it was able to present invoices from the export sales.

by Jun Ramirez

 

 

Philex welcomes recommendations call for transparency

Philex welcomes recommendations call for transparency

Press Releases

TUBA, Benguet — Philex Mining Corp. welcomes and supports recommendations for more transparency in the extractive industries made by an international-standard group.

The recommendation includes the online posting of fund releases, strict monitoring of how taxes are spent, disclosure of local-government shares to trace backlogs, and a system to keep tabs of royalties due to indigenous peoples.

“I’ve always said this—that you can look at our records, look at how we do things, and so you could speak for us,” CEO and president, Eulalio Austin, Jr., said, following the release of the third report on the Philippines by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Eiti).

“We find reports such as these as the best way for us to show you how we operate,” Austin Jr. added.

Stressing that the Philippine government “gained a firm foothold in furthering transparency in the extractive sector” with the first two country reports, the Norwegian-based non-profit Eiti said its latest report has adopted the same aim and purpose, but also covers reconciliation procedures in tax payments made by companies in the extractive industries.

“While the objectives remain the same, the third PH-Eiti report endeavors to advance the current position of the country in terms of information clarity and transparency; and ensure accessibility of data on revenues from the extractive sector,” the 330-page report, covering the fiscal year 2014 and launched Thursday, May 11, said.

The Multi Stakeholder Group, which puts the report together, recommended certification of tax collections be posted on the website of the concerned agency—Department of Finance, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), or Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau, or Department of Energy, or the Bureau of Treasury (BTr), which is tasked to directly release local government unit (LGU) shares under the new guidelines.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had requested the collecting government agencies to include in the certifications they submit to BTr all the information required by Eiti, following recommendations by the first and second PH-Eiti reports on the “disaggregation of LGU’s share in national wealth according to the different types and sources of payment on a per company basis.”

The Third PH-Eiti Report (FY2013) also recommends, among other things, that the BTr “strictly monitor” LGU compliance on the required submission of fund-utilization reports, a copy of which must be provided as well to the PH-Eiti that the DBM regional offices submit information on LGU shares for earlier years before 2013, when the Eiti first reported on the Philippines, to trace backlogs and the issuance of administrative order requiring companies to take part in the EITI process.

For 2014, Philex Mining led fellow miners in pursuing environmental projects with expenditures of P430.5 million, followed by the Cebu-based Carmen Copper Corp. at P363.6 million, and Taganito Mining Corp., in Surigao del Norte, at P345 million. For social projects in the host and neighboring communities, Philex Mining spent P74.5 million while OceanaGold, which operates the Didipio Mine in Nueva Vizcaya, spent P79.5 million and, Carmen Copper, P41.6 million.

The latest PH-Eiti report said the government collected a total of about P53.33 billion from the extractive industries for 2014, of which P10.88 billion came from mining and P42.4 billion from oil and gas. It added that total variance post-reconciliation amounted to P518.4 million.

 

 

 

Philex improves metal recovery as net income rises to 18%

Philex improves metal recovery as net income rises to 18%

Press Releases

TUBA, Benguet — Philex Mining Corp. enhanced its “flotation process” to improve metal recovery, even as it announced an 18 percent rise in core net income to P458 million for the first quarter. In its April 26 filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the gold-and-copper producer said that the Padcal, its sole operating mine located in the province, operated for 88 days between January and March, milling 1.998 million metric tons (mmt) of ore as against the 2.325 mmt a year earlier. “The lower tonnage was affected by less operating days and equipment availability issues,” it said. “The Company initiated measures to improve metal recovery, by enhancing the flotation process, to offset the lower milling tonnage.” The company’s senior metallurgist, Frederick Remolana, said the miner has since used better reagents which are also biodegradable as well as implemented other operational improvements to achieve better metal recovery. Remolana added flotation produces metals in the form of copper and gold concentrates at the mill by separating valuable minerals from the gangue, or impurities, in the ore. The company, meanwhile, contributed P473 million to nation-building in the form of taxes, fees, and other monetary amounts for community development and environmental protection. Taxes due to national and local governments alone reached P250 million while various fees and withholding taxes amounted to P111 million. “In addition, P64 million was spent for reinforcing and further strengthening existing pollution-control devices to ensure the safe quality of air and water resources at all times as well as to maintain proper waste management within the mine site and around its host and neighboring communities,” the company also said in its SEC filing. Another P23 million was spent by the company for the first three months to sustain its implementation of social projects, including free health-care services, education assistance, livelihood, and public infrastructure in its five outlying communities (both host and neighboring barangays). “Over and above the healthy financial performance in the first quarter, our commitment to advocate responsible mining, following stringent local and international standards, remains paramount,” Eulalio Austin Jr., the company’s chief executive officer and president, said in the SEC filing. “It is for this reason that we continue to roll out the activities we committed under the many agreements we have signed with the government and pursue the initiatives we vowed to provide our host and neighboring communities, in accordance with law, oftentimes exceeding what is required from us.” The metal recovery rate for copper surged 84 percent during the first quarter from a year earlier as grades improved to 0.209 percent, while recovery rate for gold jumped 83 percent as grades improved to 0.421 grams per ton. First quarter tonnage yielded 7.752 million pounds of copper and 22,451 ounces of gold, as against 8.425 million pounds and 22,451 ounces, respectively, a year earlier. Improved metal prices and favorable exchange rates, partly offset by lower metal output, resulted in consolidated revenues of P2.542 billion for the first quarter, as compared to P2.39 billion during the first three months of 2016. The company’s SEC filing also said that average realized prices for copper and gold reached $2.77 per pound and $1,264 per ounce, respectively, during the first three months, as compared with $2.25 per pound and $1,239 between January and March 2016. It added, “In addition, the realized foreign exchange rate of US$50.32/P1 compared with US$46.90/P1 in the same period last year also made a positive contribution.” (PR)

Philex mining engineer bags Miss Fire Olympics crown

Philex mining engineer bags Miss Fire Olympics crown

Press Releases

TUBA, Benguet – An employee of Philex Mining Corp. won the Miss National Fire Olympics 2017, beating seven other candidates in the muse competition industrial category organized by the Bureau of Fire Protection during its third annual celebration of fire prevention and campaign to raise social awareness on fire safety.

Jenalyn Rodas, a 26-year-old mechanical engineer at the Mill Division of the company’s Padcal mine, got the judges’ nod after two nights of stiff competition held in Quezon City on March 23 and 24 that also saw contestants compete in a number of firefighting events under the industrial, barangay, and firefighters categories.

“You need outstanding values to be a firefighter, like courage, strength, determination, and commitment,” Rodas answered during the pageant night on March 24, when asked whether or not she agrees that firefighting is a noble job. “In firefighting, you’ll have the honor to save not only properties like buildings and infrastructure, but most importantly, you will save lives.”

A 15-man team out of the Philex Mining delegation composed of 22 personnel, meanwhile, competed in the rescue and transfer relay, combination of busted hose and up-the-ladder, and fire extinguishment during the two-day 3rd National Fire Olympics that culminated with the announcement of winners after the second night of the muse competition at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Celes Tawao, department fire safety supervisor at the Safety, Health, and Loss Control Group of Philex Mining’s Padcal operations, said the company was chosen to represent the Cordillera after becoming the champion in a provincial competition on firefighting held earlier in Itogon.

The Public Information Services office of BFP-CAR said Philex Mining placed ninth in the overall ranking on the three events in the industrial category.

The winners are Caraga, OceanaGold Philippines Inc., and Region 3.

Rodas, who was awarded a trophy, a plaque, and P15,000, said her triumph is a victory for Philex Mining, which worked hard in the competitions, as well as for the entire company and the Cordillera. “We are all winners, as the others did their best just as I did my best,” she said.

She added she will relish her winning for a long time, describing the muse competition as tough, as it was a battle of poise, confidence, elegance, and wit. She won’t rest on her laurels, though, as she is now considering going to graduate school to help her advance in her career.

A graduate of the Saint Louis University, Rodas has been working as research and development engineer at Padcal mine for a year now after her one-year stint at Philex Mining’s Poro Point installation in La Union as a safety and environment supervisor. 

Before the coronation night,  the contenders showcased their sports and casual outfits at the BFP national headquarters after the morning parade that formally opened this year’s Fire Olympics, and before the three shortlisted candidates went on to another night of competition for the question and answer portion and cocktail dress.

The BFP opened and conducted its Facebook campaign and voting for the candidates in the muse competition, last Feb. 23 and 24 following the formal announcement of their names and candidacies on social media from Feb. 6 to 12.

 

 

Philex Mining pays P30M tax to Itogon

Philex Mining pays P30M tax to Itogon

Press Releases

BENGUET. Itogon mayor Victorio Palangdan and Philex SVP and resident manager Manuel Agcaoili during the turn-over of RPT check at the Baguio Country Club. (Contributed photo)

PHILEX Mining Corp. recently paid P29.8 million in real-property tax (RPT) to the municipality of Itogon covering a five-year period for a proposed tailings pond in Barangay Ampucao.

“This marks another point in our harmonious relationship with Itogon, one of our host towns, the other being Tuba,” Eulalio Austin, Jr., CEO and president of Philex Mining, said.

“We are happy that we have consistently helped build communities and contributed to nation-building through the taxes we paid,” added Austin. During a recent turnover of the check worth P29,812,407 at the Baguio Country Club (BCC) Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex and resident manager of the miner’s Padcal operations in Benguet, said the amount represents two percent of the assessed land value representing 180 hectares for the would-be Tailings Storage Facility No. 4 (TSF4).

Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said 50 percent or about P15 million of the total RPT, which covers from 2012 to 2016 and with back taxes to 2013 as required under a new tax declaration, is intended for the basic fund where 40 percent or about P6 million will go to the municipality, 25 percent or P3.7 million for Brgy. Ampucao, and 35 percent or P5.2 million for the province of Benguet.

“The basic fund for my town falls under the annual general fund, which will go toward the improvement of the municipal gym,” stressed Palangdan, who has thanked and praised Philex Mining on various occasions for having paid its taxes religiously, not to mention the various social and environmental projects it has implemented for beneficiaries in the town.

The other 50 percent of the P29.8 million RPT is mandated for allocation for the Special Education Fund (SEF), to be equally divided between Itogon and the provincial government. Intended to fund the needs of public schools, SEF goes toward teachers’ salaries, the building of classrooms and other facilities, and the purchase of necessary materials.

Roselyn Dahilan, finance group manager at Padcal, said the P15 million SEF alone could build 10 classrooms for big classes of 30 – 50 pupils each.

The basic fund, on the other hand, could pay for the salaries of 200 employees in a first-class municipality for 3.7 months.

Agcaoili reiterated his earlier statements that Philex would continue not to waver in fulfilling its tax obligations to both local and national governments, as part of its commitment to responsible mining—which the company, in fact, has brought a notch higher by putting a human face to it.

It can be noted in the past 12 years, Philex had spent P86.5 million for its education program in Padcal’s host and neighboring communities, P40 million for its livelihood program, and P306 million for public infrastructure. The gold-and-copper producer had spent P65 million for environmental protection since the 1980s. (PR)

 

 

 

Philex renews pact with Baguio journalists

Philex renews pact with Baguio journalists

Press Releases

WHILE affirming its commitment to responsible mining, Philex Mining Corp also vowed to keep their commitment to uphold the independency of the media in giving fair and balanced reporting of the mining sector.Philex CEO and President Eulalio Austin thanked journalists in Baguio and Benguet for balanced reporting as he said that both parties would continue as partners in developing the mining industry further.

  • €œOur past successes will ensure us that we will succeed, and our past failures will ensure us that we are strong enough to overcome our failures,•€ Austin said as he expressed confidence the coming year would be good for the company. The mining industry, added Austin, can indeed, be a catalyst for economic development when done responsibly •€” something which Philex Mining has been doing the past six decades in Tuba and Itogon, the host towns of its Padcal operations in Benguet.

Austin added the company is showing no signs of slowing down on the humanization of its commitment to sustainable development. One of our goals for the coming year is for Philex Mining to raise the bar of public opinion about the mining industry,•€ Austin said.

Manuel Agcaoili, SVP and Padcal resident manager, illustrated that 90 percent of the workforce at the company•€™s gold-and-copper production in Padcal come from near its mine site, and that Philex Mining•€™s 2016 allocation for various community projects as well as for information campaign and industry improvement reached P110 million. Agcaoili added Padcal•€™s 1,890 employees and workers have an average compensation package much higher than their counterparts in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Metro Manila.

The employees also enjoy free housing and utilities, free education for their children, health-care services, and rice subsidy.

This means the P622 daily, entry-level minimum wage in Padcal is 118.2 percent higher compared to P285 in CAR and 27 percent more than the P491 in the National Capital Region (NCR). The average total daily wage of a Padcal employee amounts to P1,057 including productivity bonus, bereavement leave and assistance, group life and accident insurance, vacation and sick leave, night differential overtime pay, paternity/maternity, etc.

Agcaoili also said Philex Mining has played a significant role in community development, nation building and economic progress, contributing P10.12 billion in regular and mining-related taxes to the government coffers between 2011 and 2015. The company, he stressed, had paid 100 percent of the required regular taxes amounting to P6.6 billion as well as the P3.5 billion in mining-related taxes in the five years to 2015. In other words, Philex Mining paid 153 percent in taxes for the period.

The officer-in-charge of Padcal•€™s Community Relations (ComRel) Joemar Pritos, said in the 12 years to 2015, Philex had spent P86.5 million for its education program in the outlying communities (both host and neighboring), P40 million for its livelihood program, and P306 million for public infrastructure like farm-to-market roads, school buildings and medical facilities, among other projects. (Roderick Osis)

Philex helps Tuba farmers expand livelihood project

Philex helps Tuba farmers expand livelihood project

Press Releases

TUBA, BENGUET •€“ Through Philex Mining Corporation•€™s continuous support, a famers•€™ group in this town•€™s Brgy. Camp 3 is expanding its livelihood project to include hog-raising by next year, in addition to a fish farm that it has managed successfully since 2011.

Pablo Alaoas, president of the Balding-Tokok Irrigators and Farmers•€™ Association (Batifa), announced this at a fish harvest in the barangay•€™s Sitio Balding, saying his group is grateful for the seed capital of P150,000 that Philex Mining will grant within the first-half of 2017. •We have finalized and submitted our proposal to Padcal, and we are confident that the company would continue helping us, as it has always done,•€ he added. •€œAll of us at Batifa, including our families, are thankful for all the help that Philex Mining has extended to us.•€
He recalled how his group was able to realize its fish-farm project with an initial capital of P750,000 granted by Philex Mining, which had turned over the livelihood project to the 50-member Batifa in 2014. Batifa, now composed of 57 farmer-beneficiaries from Sitios Balding and Tokok, harvested 800 kilos of tilapia on Thursday, Dec. 1, from one of its five fishponds built like terraces across the 2,000 square meters of land in the hinterlands of Brgy. Camp 3. Visitors may access the community by crossing a hanging bridge from the main road of Kennon, and another shorter hanging bridge to reach the fishponds.
The livelihood projects being implemented by Philex Mining in its host and neighboring communities in Tuba and Itogon, are made possible through the company•€™s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP). The SDMP, the Information, Education and Communications (IEC) campaign, and the Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG) for the current year eat up 1.5 percent of a miner•€™s total operating cost in the previous year. Getting a lion•€™s share of 75 percent of the government-mandated fund allocation, the SDMP also covers projects on health, environment, and public infrastructure, while IEC gets 15 percent and, DMTG, 10 percent.

During simple ceremonies conducted to celebrate the fish harvest attended by residents, local government officials, and other guests, Alaoas said his group is eager to start diversifying its livelihood projects through a continued partnership with Philex Mining, following the success of its fish farm, whose harvest is done every four to five months. A tilapia fingerling, Alaoas said, costs between P1 and P120, and the four or five-month-old tilapia is sold for P120 per kilo. •€œWe haven•€™t sought any market other than our two sitios or even outside of our barangay, as we have had enough consumers here,•€ he stressed. Proceeds from tilapia sales go toward a common fund, deposited in a bank, where Batifa members may borrow money at a low interest rate, to be used as capital for their lemon farms and other livelihood activities.