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1,407 villagers in Davao town gets free health services

John Unson - Philstar.com
1,407 villagers in Davao town gets free health services
A municipal health worker examines a villager during an outreach mission in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.
Philstar.com / John Unson

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines — More than a thousand poor residents benefited from a series of medical and dental missions in three interior barangays in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur in the past three weeks.

Kiblawan Mayor Joel Calma said Saturday the outreach activities in Barangays Bulolsalo, Tacub and Kimlawis was a joint initiative of their local government unit, the Sagittarius Mines Incorporated, most known as SMI, and the National Commission on Indigenous People in Region 11.

He told reporters 1,407 indigenous people and members of settler families in the three barangays availed of the medical and dental services funded with a P340,000 grant from the SMI as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility thrust.

“We are thankful to the SMI and the NCIP-11 for these medical and dental missions in Bulolsalo, Tacub and Kimlawis,” Calma said.

The hinterland Kiblawan municipality, where there are Blaan communities, is one of four towns where the SMI is to operate once it starts extracting copper in nearby Tampakan, South Cotabato with permission from the national government.

Mining experts in the central office of the Department of  Environment and Natural Resources and from abroad had placed at no less than US$ 200 billion their estimate of the copper deposits in Tampakan.

Tampakan is a known ancestral domain of ethnic Blaans, who have long been asserting their collective desire to have the copper deposits in the municipality mined for their benefit.

The SMI has not operated yet since its inception in the 1990s, but already spent hundreds in millions worth of funds for community projects in Tampakan, in Kiblawan and in the towns of Malungon in Sarangani and in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.

Calma said the NCIP-11 and the SMI have also been empowering their indigenous community structures through continuing interventions, including workshops for local tribal leaders.

Calma said a number of his constituents had also graduated from college, in recent years, via a scholarship program of the mining firm.

MEDICAL MISSION

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