Mining companies in Central Visayas have started to provide support to impact and non-impact communities affected by the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through the realigned Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds.

Realigned SDMP funds from different mining companies in Region 7 reached more than Php 21 million.

On April 1, 2020, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issued the guidelines for the realignment of the unutilized SDMP funds which refer to the unspent budget in 2019 carried over to the 2020 Annual SDMP budget.

With this, all MGB regional offices were authorized to approve SDMP fund realignments for programs, projects, and activities that can help combat the socioeconomic effects of COVID-19 in the affected communities. The Community Development Program (CDP) can also be realigned following the same guidelines.

Companies’ response

Carmen Copper Corporation (CCC) in Toledo City, Cebu realigned its SDMP funds to purchase food packs for the households in its host and neighboring communities.

Nearly Php 16 million was allotted benefitting more than 8,000 households in 17 barangays in Toledo City including households with persons with disabilities (PWDs), wage earners, and frontliners.

“A lot of changes have already occurred. As we move forward, there will be changes in the manner we do things. But there is one thing constant, the imperative of unity. This is the time to be one. This cannot be won by a single individual,” CCC President and CEO Roy Deveratura said.

The Solid Earth Development Corporation (SEDC) in San Fernando, Cebu also allotted more than Php400,000 from its SDMP fund to provide food packs to various households and frontliners in 13 barangays of the town and its neighboring town of Pinamungajan.

As the company is functioning on a skeleton workforce, the company provided personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectants, transportation and accommodation to its working employees.

JLR Construction and Aggregates, Inc. have spent almost 2.7M benefiting households and displaced workers from Minglanilla, Naga City, Talisay City and Mandaue City.

In Bohol Province, though the goods have to arrive yet, Bohol Limestone Corporation has set aside Php 1 million to provide food packs to more than 6,000 households in Garcia-Hernandez town.

According to MGB-7 Director Loreto Alburo, the unused SDMP funds must be utilized first before the utilization of the 2020 funds.

“Subject to the approval of the MGB regional director, the 2020 Annual SDMP budget can be realigned with the utilization of 12 to 17 percent every week,” Alburo said.

Part of SDMP, he said, are programs for the development of the companies’ host and neighboring communities which are now suffering socioeconomic effects because of COVID-19.

“I’m thankful for the initiatives and efforts of the mining companies in helping the communities and protecting their employees through preventive measures to survive this crisis,” Alburo added.

For proper accounting, the companies must include all necessary documents on the utilization of realigned SDMP fund such as official receipts and proof of purchase of food and medical supplies in the quarterly accomplishment report to be submitted by the mining contractors. (MGB7/IO)