Large-scale mining operations in Carrascal, Surigao del Sur have helped the municipality grow its annual income by over 6,000 percent in 11 years, or from P1.77 million in 2006 to P108 million in 2017.
This is according to local government data presented at the recent Mining Philippines Conference last September.
“The mining industry has been our partner in our thrust towards excellence in local governance. Since welcoming our doors to the mining industry, we’ve been able to advance our services, build better infrastructure, and provide jobs to our residents,” said Carrascal Vice Mayor Alfred Arreza.
In 2006, farming and agriculture were the primary sources of income in Carrascal, Arreza said. A population of about 14,000 had to make do with intermittent electricity, undeveloped roads, and antiquated infrastructure and healthcare facilities.
In 2007, seeing the benefits that mining had brought to its neighboring towns, Carrascal welcomed the mining industry into the area.
Presently, there are three large-scale mining firms in Carrascal: CTP Construction and Mining Corp., Carrascal Nickel Corp., and Marcventures Mining and Development Corp.
According to LGU data, the current population of Carrascal is 22,000. Of this number, about 31 percent or more than 7,000 locals are directly employed by mining companies.
“Mining has gone a long way toward boosting the people’s morale. Without it, we would not have come this far. It is because of the ‘shared value’ principle that these companies abide by,” Vice Mayor Arreza added.
As of 2017, more than P300 million has been raised to construct new buildings and infrastructure surrounding the municipal town hall, he noted.
Some notable projects include the Carrascal Primary Health Care Annex and Carrascal Community Hospital, where residents are given huge discounts, free treatments, and medicine for indigent patients.
Its modern facilities—including an ultrasound facility, hematology unit, and birthing facilities— serve not only Carrascal residents, but even those from nearby towns.
Aside from schools and day care centers, taxes from the mining firms led to the construction and improvement of a tennis and badminton court, a municipal building, a senior citizen’s center, and a library.
Numerous farm-to-market roads and bridges now allow for smooth passage of new fire trucks, ambulances, and tourist coaches emblazoned with “Katas ng Mina” across town, Arreza said.
Carrascal resident Nancita Arguillas is one of the locals attesting to the progress of the town due to mining operations. Earlier this year, Arguillas and 14 other residents received one tricycle unit each as part of MMDC’s livelihood program.
“The mining companies here have really made a difference. For me, I use my trike to sell bread every morning, which has helped me raise P300 to P500 everyday. I have my grandchildren under our roof, so our family can now afford to feed them,” Arguillas said.
Other industries are also supported through income generated by mining operations.
In 2016, about P2.6 million was allocated to develop agriculture in the area through purchasing farm equipment. Farmers are given subsidies from the prevailing prices of fertilizers and rice seeds by up to 50 percent.
The Carrascal local government is also developing tourism generating projects that would create more opportunities for the town’s residents.
“Indeed, it’s remarkable to see how the little town of Carrascal has grown exponentially. It can now sufficiently and sustainably provide for its people – and this is what true progress is all about,” Arreza said.