South Cotabato town gets 3 rescue vehicles from private firm

John Unson - Philstar.com
South Cotabato town gets 3 rescue vehicles from private firm
One of the three brand new rescue vehicles donated to three barangays in Tampakan, South Cotabato by a private mining firm.
Philstar.com / John Unson

TAMPAKAN, South Cotabato — The emergency preparedness of the municipal government here and its war on COVID-19 got a boost with three new rescue vehicles donated by a private company, officials said.

Tampakan Mayor Leonard Escobillo said Saturday he is thankful to the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) for donating three units of brand new Kia 2500 rescue vehicles to three barangay governments here.

The SMI has not even extracted copper in Blaan-dominated hinterlands here since the inception in 1995 of the government-accredited Tampakan Copper-Gold Project it is supposed to operate.

The rescue vehicles were received from SMI representatives by Neil Ryan Escobillo, Judith Magbanua and Delfin Magbanua, chairpersons of Barangays Pula Bato, Danlag and Tablu, respectively, during a turnover rite early this week. 

The SMI had, in recent years, produced more than 700 college graduates from here and nearby towns, some of them now school teachers, via its corporate social responsibility program despite not having even extracted copper anywhere here since two decades ago.

Local officials here and in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, in Malungon, Sarangani, and in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur have said the SMI has also been funding socio-economic projects for their constituent- Blaan communities.

The copper deposit in upland Blaan ancestral lands in this town is touted as Asia’s largest.

Escobillo said the barangay governments of Pula Bato, Danlag and Tablu must let other barangay governments in Tampakan use the rescue vehicles if needed.

He said he is grateful to the SMI for its continuing corporate social responsibility projects benefiting the local communities.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of South Cotabato also appreciated SMI’s donation of the rescue vehicles to the three barangay governments.

Rolly Doane Aquino, officer-in-charge of South Cotabato’s PDRRMO, said Saturday the donation is a good capacity-building intervention that can enhance the emergency response capability of the three beneficiary-barangay governments.

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