PH Mining industry raises P402-M fund to help 1.4-M households, frontliners

Published July 25, 2020, 5:12 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

The Philippine mining industry has so far raised ₱402-million worth of relief fund to help 1.4 million households and frontliners during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Motorists queue up to avail the free COVI19 Drive-Thru Testing Center set by the City of Manila with the initiative of Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso at Quirino Grandstand on Saturday, July 18, 2020. (Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Mining companies were able to raise a total of ₱402 million after Acting Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Director Wilfredo Moncano had authorized them to realign their unutilized Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds to help the national government in its fight against COVID-19.

MGB is a line bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that oversees and regulates the mining sector.

It reported that as of July 8, some 1.2 million households have been provided with food packs, vegetables and garden kits through the relief fund.

This has exceeded the initial target of around 1.184 million beneficiaries, the MGB said.

On top of this, the agency noted that close to 210,000 frontliners have been provided with personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

“The SDMP fund has components that can be sacrificed and realigned to respond and assist the clamor of the government and the community for assistance,” Moncano said, adding that 90 percent of the pooled SDMP funds have been utilized so far.

As stated under the DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-21 or the Consolidated Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mining companies are required to allocate at least one percent of their annual operation cost to their SDMP to assist host and neighboring communities and in developing mining technology and geosciences.

The mining companies also provided logistical support, such as service ambulance, trucks and boats to affected communities within their jurisdiction. 

Moncano said the initiative, which has already benefited millions of individuals, was a result of “common agenda and objectives.”

“I am glad that through the collaboration of MGB and the mining companies, we were able to give assistance to our local government units and communities hosting mining operations,” he added.