MANILA, Philippines – Real stories of real people from Southern Mindanao filled the Manila air during the Sustainability Report launch of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI) last June 6. The Manila launch is the culminating event from a series of two other roll-outs that happened in Davao City last 29 May and Koronadal City last May 31.
SMI is the holder of a financial and technical assistance agreement that manages the Tampakan Copper-Gold project located in Southern Mindanao.
Aside from the Sustainability Report magazine given to all attendees, the event showcased the stories of SMI’s different stakeholders who benefited from the companies programs – on education, livelihood, healthcare, resettlement consultation, and responsible mining advocacy campaign.
The event touched on ‘a-day- in-the-life’ of a 73-year-old Blaan elder, Masalio Sumangay, who has witnessed all the changes that happened in her tribal community.
Lola Sumangay expressed during the ‘Dialogue with the Stakeholders’, “I feel better now. I see progress everywhere and life for my people is now more comfortable.”
Lola Sumangay added, “I am happy that all my children and grandchildren are now able to school.
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My daughter Dalena, one of the tribal chieftains, goes to many meetings to promote responsible mining and tell people about the benefits of mining.”
Lola Sumangay further added, “SMI’s (sustainable) programs should benefit all tribal communities and barangays within the project area so that the IPs will not be jealous of the benefits that one tribe is enjoying.”
The clip also featured Servanda Enojales, a Barangay health worker; Rosario Pangilan, an abaca weaver; Ellen Mae Ambat, former SMI scholar and instructional manager/adult literacy teachers; Cristie Carillo, former SMI scholar and LET top notcher last 2012; Allan Lorenzo, a resettlement committee member and counselor of Barangay Pula Bato; and Lolit Morales, an advocate from the ‘Seeing is Believing’ program and Official Representative of the Inter-Evangelical Christian Community Group of South Cotabato.
“People should hear the truth about responsible mining.” Lolita Morales said when she was asked to be part of the panel of stakeholders who shared her story in SMI’s Sustainability Report launch. She added, “There is nothing wrong about mining. It is simply making use of the natural resources that God has given us.”
Allan Lorenzo, a counselor from Barangay Pula Bato in Tampakan, South Cotabato stated that since 1997, the Barangay Community Development Fund has helped them amounting to P 1 million and has increased in the past years to P 3 million since the programs of the said mining company focused on barangays.
Lorenzo admits that he was part of the anti-mining groups who opposed the previous mining company who were not transparent in their program. He also added that when SMI assumed the Project, he was well-informed by SMI about responsible mining and when he became part of SMI’s Resettlement Committee, his stand had changed because he already knows the benefits of responsible mining.
A key aspect of the activities undertaken by SMI through 2012 was the extensive stakeholder consultations around the project, its benefits and impacts and its plans for resettlement.
Throughout 2012, SMI provided jobs for more than 370 employees and 940 contractors; delivered community health services to more than 12,000 people; provided financial support for tuition, allowances and school supplies for 26,000 students; supported livelihood opportunities for more than 6,000 households; reforested more than 340 hectares in partnership with community groups; and contributed P1.8 billion to the economy.