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Private firm spends more than P10 million for anti-COVID-19 initiatives
The Sagittarius Mines Incorporated is aiming to extract copper in hinterlands in Tampakan, South Cotabato and nearby towns in Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and in Davao del Sur provinces.
Philstar.com/John Unson

Private firm spends more than P10 million for anti-COVID-19 initiatives

John Unson (Philstar.com) - February 27, 2021 - 2:38pm

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines — A mining firm that has not even extracted copper yet from four towns since its inception two decades ago has spent more than P10 million for corporate anti-COVID-19 initiatives.

Local officials said Saturday the amount was drawn from the corporate social responsibility program allocations of the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated, or SMI.

The SMI has, for almost 20 years now, been eyeing to extract copper and gold in Tampakan in South Cotabato, in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, in Malungon Sarangani and in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.

Key members of the municipal disaster risk reduction and management councils in the four towns said Saturday the SMI has even provided the Tampakan local government unit with a truck for transporting provisions for residents affected by the COVID-19 quarantine regulations.

The SMI started complementing the anti-COVID-19 efforts of LGUs in the four host municipalities after the enactment in March 2020 of the Republic Act 11469.

The RA 11469 is also known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” that empowered President Rodrigo Duterte to embark on emergency measures needed to boost the national government’s war on coronavirus.

Among those who had expressed appreciation for the anti-COVID-19 initiatives of SMI was Chairperson Bai Naila Mamalinta of Barangay Datalblao in Columbio.

The SMI released last January a P1.5 million grant to Mamalinta’s office for separate humanitarian projects in her barangay, planned prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are hundreds of ethnic Blaan families in hinterland areas in Datalblao that have substantial deposits of copper and gold.

“We in Datalblao are in favor of the SMI’s supposed operation in our barangay. That should be made clear to all,” Mamalinta said.

SMI representatives also turned over last January a P1.5 million check to Columbio Mayor Edwin Bermudez for his administration’s pro-poor projects in the municipality.

LGU officials in Tampakan, Columbio, Kiblawan and Malungon confirmed Saturday that the SMI has donated a big volume of hygiene kits and food supplies to the local communities and 50 handheld thermal scanners to their anti-COVID-19 frontliners in outreach activities that began last year.

The SMI also provided prefabricated tents for checkpoints manned jointly by police, military and civilian health workers imposing COVID-19 regulations.

“The firm donated six handheld two-way radios for anti-COVID-19 initiatives of the Malungon local government unit,” a radio reporter, who is a member of the Kampilan Press Corps of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said Saturday.

An SMI college scholarship program had produced before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country last year more than 700 professionals, among them the 25-year-old Sandy Rose Antonio, now an employee of the Columbio LGU.

“We are certain more from our communities shall become college graduates once the SMI gets operational,” Antonio said. 

2019 N-COV NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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