Eduardo Aratas, Philex Mining Corp.’s division manager for Legal at Padcal Mines, and Padcal Manager for Community Relations Feliciano Diso, Jr. being interviewed by journalists after a media forum at the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, in Baguio City, April 16 | BF

Philex Mining working toward self-reliant communities
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
MGB helping small-scale mining associations obtain permits to operate legally

Officials at Padcal Mines, the Benguet-based gold-and-copper production of Philex Mining Corp., have assured a regulatory body of the company•€™s commitment to help develop its outlying communities through various social programs, including environmental protection, with an end-view to making them self-reliant.

Besides its projects on health care, livelihood, and public infrastructure, Padcal Mines has been expanding its community program on education, which also now covers scholarship grants for graduate level, including law and medicine, as well as training for the development of teachers and school administrators.

•€œWe•€™ve always been in the forefront of community development, helping our host and neighboring villages build farm-to-market roads, providing them quality health-care services, and creating livelihood programs that will eventually make them self-reliant,•€ Feliciano Diso, Jr., manager for Community Relations at Padcal, said.

He and Eduardo Aratas, Padcal•€™s division manager for Legal, attended April 16 a media forum organized by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), at the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and held in Baguio City, where they joined officials from other mining companies in presenting their respective social programs to the media.

Zards Gacad, chief of the Mines and Environment Safety Division at MGB-CAR, explained how the government regulates the mining industry, including requiring miners to allot 1.5 percent of their previous year•€™s total operating cost for the current year•€™s social projects, research to develop the mining industry, and a public-awareness campaign for mining and geosciences.

He stressed the hundreds of millions of pesos•€™ worth of socio-economic and environmental projects being done by all the mining companies operating in Benguet, as well as their adherent to government regulations during the stages of mining life•€”from exploration, development, extraction and processing, and mine closure.

Mr. Diso said Philex Mining has about P118 million to spend, including a carry-over from last year, for Padcal•€™s 2014 Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), the Information, Education, and Communication campaign, and the Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences. The original amount allotted is P101.5 million, or 1.5 percent of last year•€™s total operating cost of P6.77 billion.

Fay Apil, acting director of MGB-CAR, announced moves by her bureau to help the 11 small-scale mining associations in Benguet and two in Apayao accomplish their respective permits, in accordance with Executive Order No. 79, which ensures environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources.

Mr. Aratas, in the meantime, told journalists covering Baguio City and Benguet that Philex Mining is still awaiting the final copy of a memorandum of agreement (MoA) that would pave the way for the company to pay its host towns of Itogon and Tuba the sum of P200 million in local taxes.

He also told the media forum that on top of its ISO, or International Organization for Standardization, certification, Philex Mining is likewise working toward obtaining a certification for IMS, or integrated management system, in order to further meet its objectives and satisfy its stakeholders.

Philex Mining was the country•€™s first mining company to be certified for ISO 14001, or the Environmental Management Standards. Its Padcal Mines last year planted a total of 305,590 seedlings across 390 hectares of land in Itogon, bringing to over 8 million seedlings of various forest and fruit-bearing tree species planted in 2,465 hectares of land in Itogon and Tuba. (April 22, 2014)