CONTRARY to the Toledo City mayor’s statement, the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) 7 yesterday said the fund for Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) from Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) has been properly released to the host communities in Toledo City.

Earlier, Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña urged government agencies to ask the CCC to release the Social Responsibility Fund to the City Government, and not directly to the two barangays where the mining firm operates.

Armando Malicse, the chief of the MGB 7 mining division, said that was Osmeña’s comment and “I believe that it should be respected as a comment, and not as a decision.”

He said it is in the mining law that it’s the host barangay that must be the recipient of the Social Responsibility Fund to help its constituents who are directly affected by the mining operations.

In a statement, the CCC clarified that it is compliant with the SDMP guidelines and the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Program (EPEP) standards.

Since 2009, Carmen Copper has released a total of P602 million in the implementation of SDMP projects in all its 17 host and neighboring barangays in Toledo City.

“As to the manner of disbursing the mandatory social fund, under RA 7942, we engage our stakeholders in determining priority projects, which in turn are approved by the MGB for implementation and periodic monitoring,” it said.

“Our focus areas are quality and inclusive education, quality health care services, livelihood, public infrastructure, preservation of cultural heritage, and disaster resilience and rehabilitation,” the statement added. (EOB) | Sunstar Cebu