Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc. joined in the celebration of Local Government Day 2020 and its continued partnership with and support of the local government in its host and neighboring communities.

By Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio

As the start of the COVID-19 crisis could insinuate challenges, Philex Mining Corp. and PXP Energy Corp. speedily responded to work for their continuity. At the same time, both companies persist in supporting their employees and the communities.

Heeding the call of its chairman, Manuel V Pangilinan, Philex put people first before profit in its service amid the pandemic.

“We first had to ensure that our employees and their dependents were safe and healthy. We also needed to take care of our host and neighboring communities, so we provided support and assistance to local government units in our respective project sites. Of course, we also responded to the call of the government to partner in its fight against COVID-19 in whatever way we can,” Philex said in an e-mail.

The mining company did COVID-19 relief operations as well, where P14 million of its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds were re-allocated, shared Mr. Pangilinan in his message to stockholders.

Health supplies and goods, food packages, and cash assistance are among those given to affected communities in the company’s areas of operations.

Philex also began its CSR programs through its subsidiary, Silangan Mindanao Mining Co., Inc. (SMMCI), said Philex President and Chief Executive Officer Eulalio Austin, Jr.

This initiative focused on education, livelihood, and the promotion of socio-cultural activities within the host communities of 11 barangays and four municipalities in Surigao del Norte, said Mr. Austin.

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process for the Silangan Project, SMMCI also began regularly conducting extensive and comprehensive information, education, and communication program with the concerned stakeholders.

Furthermore, Mr. Pangilinan acknowledged mining companies’ socio-economic contributions like creating jobs and meeting the community’s electricity and water supply needs. The industry can also be a “vital ally” of the government towards achieving economic recovery, he added.

“Chairman MVP has always iterated this: mining is not the enemy, poverty is,” Philex said. “As a leader in right and principled mining, [Philex] has always held itself out to respond to the call to partner with government in the fight against poverty, in the fight against COVID-19. Mining can and will be a potential driver for economic growth and recovery if allowed to flourish.”

Meanwhile, PXP Energy Corp. made several initiatives for sustainable development, as imparted in its annual report for 2020. During the pandemic, the oil and gas company provided online seminars for the professional advancement of its employees.

PXP also supported the improvement of local health facilities by providing solar electrification and generator sets. It gave several medical equipment or supplies to local clinics and rural health centers as well.

Last May, the company, along with its partners in SC 74, gave financial assistance to the Coron Licensed Tour Guides Association, thus helping members who lost their main source of livelihood as the pandemic affected tourism. The support also boosted the association’s fundraising activity.

PXP also firmly abides by environmental laws and policies, reporting that it accomplishes exploration, production, and development activities with minimum or no detrimental impacts to flora and fauna, marine, and onshore environment.

And while there are no indigenous peoples (IPs) living within its areas of operation, PXP nevertheless works to manage any of its impacts on the traditional lifestyles of IPs residing in neighboring islands or adjacent territories.

It also conducts cultural orientation for employees and addresses local concerns on health and safety before the fieldwork.

These are among PXP’s efforts in contributing to the pursuit of some of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.