TUBA, Benguet – Only the two of them graduated out of the 20 students who had taken up mining engineering in a batch of scholars. The rest had either shifted to other academic disciplines but remained as scholars or lost their scholarships after they failed to make the cutoff grade-weighted average and other requirements by Philex Mining Corp.

One of the two graduates landed on the top 10 among the 281 passers-out of the 317 examinees who took the board exams administered in Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, and Legazpi by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), on Aug. 8 – 10.

“I am proud to say that I was a scholar of Philex Mining,” said Myla Jane Mangoltad, who graduated cum laude and placed 10th in the board exams, in an interview. “This provided a lot of benefits: first is the financial aspect, as Philex Mining became the partner of my parents and I in attaining my degree; second is the bond me and my co-scholar created together with the management, especially the ComRel [Community Relations Dept., Padcal mine] through the different activities it has implemented for its scholars; and, lastly, is the pride of being a scholar of this prestigious company.”

Mangoltad, 21, and her co-scholar, the 22year-old Jason Adonis, both hail from Tuba, one of the two towns-the other being Itogon-hosting Padcal mine, Philex Mining’s gold-and-copper operations in Benguet. She lives in Sitio Mangga, Brgy. Camp 3, while he is from Sitio Piminggan, Brgy. Ansagan. They both went to Saint Louis University (SLU), in Baguio City, and became Philex scholars in 2013, enjoying free tuition, a monthly stipend, and book allowance.

Stressing that free education is one of the best gifts a company could give to its stakeholders, Eulalio Austin, Jr., CEO and president of Philex Min- ing, said, “And I am so happy and very proud that we are able to provide this to our deserving students. Not only have we adhered to our commitment in community development and environmental protection, we also have secured the future of the youth in our host and neighboring communities through our various education projects.”

The company has for this year set aside P14.4 million for its scholarship grants to college, highschool, and elementary students, as well as for those in the technical/vocational (TechVoc) courses. Last year, it allotted P11.8 million for its 114 full college and 24 TechVoc scholars; 374 students in elementary and high school who received educational subsidies; and 130 secondary students who were given education assistance (monthly monetary allowance).