TUBA, Benguet — Philex Mining Corp. granted P1.48 million worth of health insurance to 620 individuals, together with their families this year, bringing to P3.4 million the total amount of coverage given to the indigent residents in the outlying communities of its Padcal mine in this province over the past four years.

“We received and still continue to receive so many requests for free health insurance from residents in our host and neighboring villages, and granting them such is our way of being in the frontline of a humanized, conscientious, and responsible mining,” Aurora Dolipas, manager at Padcal’s Community Relations (ComRel) Dept., said.

ComRel’s Crisel Rosado and Mila Salinas, who are part of a team that screens and processes applications for free health insurance, said Philex Mining shelled out P897,600 for the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., coverage of 374 individuals last year, P655,200 for 273 beneficiaries in 2015, and P366,000 for 183 people in 2014, when the project was launched.

They stressed spouses and children of the respective beneficiaries were given the same free health-insurance coverage, the funds of which were taken from Padcal’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), one of the three major CSR, or corporate social responsibility, projects being pursued by Philex Mining in line with is adherence to conscientious and responsible mining.

The company is mandated to allot 1.5 percent of its previous year’s total operating expenses for the current year’s SDMP; Information, Education, and Communications (IEC) campaign; and Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG). Of the total allocated budget, SDMP gets the lion share of 75 percent while IEC is given 15 percent and, DMTG, 10 percent. Padcal, the company’s sole operating mine, has two barangays—Camp 3, in Tuba, and Ampucao, in Itogon—for its host communities, as well as three neighboring villages, namely, Camp 1 and Ansagan (both in Tuba) and Itogon’s Dalupirip.

These five barangays, with a total population of more than 27,000 in 7,896 households, are collectively referred to as outlying communities.

Rosado and Salinas said of this year’s total beneficiaries, 285 are residents of Barangay Camp 3 while 200 are in Barangay Ampucao, 50 in Barangay Ansagan, 45 in Barangay Camp 1, and 40 in Barangay Dalupirip. As part of its health projects under SDMP, Philex Mining has also held medical and dental missions to remote villages, bringing doctors, dentists, and nurses to the doorsteps of their less fortunate stakeholders and spending hundreds of thousands of pesos for medicines in each visit.

Between 2003 and 2015 alone, Philex Mining had spent P25.2 million for its health-care program in its host and neighboring villages. The company had also constructed health-care centers and sanitary facilities in the outlying communities. (PR)