Miners allowed to re-align SDMP funds for typhoon relief efforts

Published November 19, 2020, 1:46 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

A week since Typhoon Ulysses hit the country, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has allowed miners to re-align their funds for their respective Social Development and Management Programs (SDMP) to bankroll their typhoon relief efforts.

“In the interest of public service and for humanitarian reasons please be informed that all MGB Regional Offices (RO) concerned are hereby authorized to allow mining companies to re-align the unutilized/unspent funds of SDMP to assist typhoon victims within the host and neighboring communities, as well as the non-impact barangays in their respective localities,” MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano said in a recently issued memorandum order.

MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano (Photo credit: https://region1.mgb.gov.ph/)

“Said realignment shall be consulted with and agreed by the host and neighboring communities,” he added.

The SDMP is supposedly a tool for the development and implementation of community programs, projects and activities for the host and neighboring communities of a mining project.

This is a five-year plan geared towards the development of a responsible, self-reliant and resource-based community capable of developing, implementing and managing development programs, projects and activities.    

In a text exchange, Moncano said the recent typhoons did not necessarily have a lot of negative impacts on the operation of large scale mines in the country.

“Initially, they were concerned about lack of electricity or power but these were resolved later,” Moncano said.

To recall, it was on Thursday last week when Ulysses, the deadliest typhoon that hit the country so far for this year, made landfall in Quezon province and hit a huge part of Luzon, including Calabarzon and Bicol region. 
Ulysses arrived just more than a week after Super Typhoon Rolly made landfall in the country. 

As for Rocky Dimaculangan, vice president for corporate communications at Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP), MGB’s decision to allow miners to re-align their SDMP funds will enhance their capability to “provide immediate relief and assistance to help their communities after disasters”.

“Many of our members donate funds, do relief operations, and, if necessary, undertake search, rescue, or retrieval operations during disasters even without being asked or ordered,” Dimaculangan said. 

“The legit large-scale mining industry has in many instances been among the first responders in times of disasters and calamities,” he added.

During the early days of the pandemic, MGB also allowed mining companies to re-allocate their SDMP funds for their COVID-19 relief efforts.

The re-allocation of funds helped miners to provide social amelioration measures in favor of their host communities, among other COVID-19 relief efforts.

Miners also provided personal protective equipment (PPEs), health supplies and goods, relief goods, and food packages to more than a million households and hundreds of thousands of frontliners.