7 April 2017

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez emphasized the responsibility of mining companies to stimulate economic growth beyond their neighboring communities.

In her visit to Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) in Toledo City, Cebu last March 31, Lopez promised to work with the mining officials in an area development approach. This could help the economy not only of the host and neighboring communities but the entire Cebu province.

“I want to be able to use your Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds to create a massive area development growth to have a genuine economic growth that ends up in achieving social justice,” Lopez said.

Carmen Copper Corp. reported an allocated budget of about P200 million for their social development including livelihood and skills training for the nearby communities, infrastructure support such as farm-to-market roads, water and flood control systems, health assistance programs, local government support, among others.

SDMPs are provided for in DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-21, which is the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

Every year, the mining companies are required to allot 1.5 percent of their total operating costs. From the amount, 75 percent of which is apportioned for community development, 10 percent for mining technology and geosciences advancement programs, and 15 percent for information, education and communication program.

“What I want you to do with your SDMP funds is to have an area development far beyond Toledo City into the whole of Cebu,” Lopez told the executives of CCC.

“Genuine economic growth is when there is no more social injustice. We should not adversely affect the future generation. What happens here is that the people within the mining area benefit but the people outside does not benefit at all,” she added.

CCC president Enrico C. Nera acknowledged the concern of the secretary and promised to work with her in expanding their social development programs outside Toledo City.

Lopez has been visiting mining operations that passed in last year’s mining audit.

CCC is one of the 12 operations that passed the audit. They are also consistent recipient of the Philippine Mine Safety and Environmental Association (PMSEA) for the Best Mining Forest Award for Metallic Category. In 2016, they garnered 2nd runner-up in the said category.