TUBA, Benguet—Convinced that Philex Mining Corp. has played its part well in community development, economic progress and environmental protection, some 200 cadets and personnel from the Philippine Military Academy endorsed the company’s commitment to responsible mining during a recent visit to the mine camp.
“I now have a different outlook of mining, as I learned a lot after talking to some residents here and seeing a sustainable community built by Philex Mining,” Aurelio Torres, 21, a representative from the visitors’ Army group dubbed “Echo,” said.
Whereas before he had relied on anti-mining activists for his views on the industry, Torres said he had witnessed the benefits being derived from responsible mining.
He was one of 158 cadets who came to the mine camp of Philex Mining’s Padcal operations, spending the whole day doing a familiarization tour. They also talked to residents of the host towns of Tuba and Itogon, gave away books to students, and lectured about safety measures during disasters.
Six PMA officers, six faculty members, and 16 security personnel and drivers joined the cadets.
Paul Bronson Ciano, manager of the Padcal mine’s security department and a PMA alumnus himself, said the faculty of the school’s Humanities Department had chosen to visit the Philex operation.
There, the graduating PMA cadets could witness and learn how the gold-and-copper producer built its community and stayed true to its corporate social responsibility, he added.
“We are grateful that you have appreciated the sustainability of this community, as well as shared your thoughts and learning about responsible mining,” Ciano told the cadets. “We are now one in believing that there really is life in mining.”
Before touring the mine camp and carrying out the rest of their one-day activity, the visitors, headed by Lt. Col. Agnes Linette Flores, paid a courtesy call on Manuel Agcaoili, Philex Mining SVP and Padcal resident manager.
Agcaoili explained to them how Padcal provides free housing, utilities, and health-care services to its employees, as well as the benefits granted to its other stakeholders.
“We also have livelihood programs for the employees and the host communities,” he added.
Nijar Basiri, 23, a cadet belonging to the Air Force group Foxtrot who hails from Jolo, said responsible mining exists, contrary to what many PMA cadets had thought based on the preaching of anti-mining activists.
Basiri and Torres joined the rest of the delegation in turning over a number of books and other reading materials to the Saint Louis High School–Philex branch in Itogon’s Barangay Ampucao. They also shared with the students and community leaders their knowledge and training on emergency-response management.
“We appreciate the help that you have extended to the community—the social and economic aspects that have improved the lives of the people in your host and neighboring villages,” said Frederick Macalintal, 23, from the Navy group Bravo.
“We must help each other. We encourage the rest of the mining industry to emulate what Philex Mining has been doing as a responsible miner,” Basiri said.