BY LEANDER C. DOMINGO
KASIBU, Nueva Vizcaya: The Didipio Mine has been expanding its reach with its two new funds aimed at building community capacity and resilience, according to the mine’s External Affairs and Social Performance (EASP) division.
Marjorie Idio, EASP manager, said the two new funds called Community Development Fund (CDF) and the Provincial Development Fund (PDF) were added to the Didipio Mine’s substantial community program, which was included in the terms and conditions of its Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) renewal.
The initial 25-year FTAA took effect on June 20, 1994 and expired on June 20, 2019, and was renewed by the Philippine government for an additional 25 years.
An FTAA is a permit issued to a multinational company sharing technology and resources to explore and extract minerals in the Philippines.
Launched in July 2022 in collaboration with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the CDF is delivered in collaboration and partnership with relevant local government units, community groups, organizations, Indigenous Peoples (IPs) or indigenous cultural communities to determine its plan and implementation.
Idio said there is a huge emphasis on widespread participation among multiple community stakeholders to deliver programs that have broad benefits and purpose and to build effective partnerships to foster learning and continuous improvement.
On the other hand, the PDF prioritizes improvements that are meaningful, substantial and lasting.
With this, the Didipio Mine team consults the provincial local government units of Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino “to ensure the projects and activities funded by the PDF align with their respective provincial development plans and meet the community’s needs,” Idio said.
She explained that the CDF and PDF are resourced through an additional 1.5 percent of the mine’s gross mining revenue to deliver programs that meet the needs, particularly of the mine’s host provinces and its people.
“[Our] team was so excited about the opportunity to be a catalyst for significant positive social change in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces,” Idio said.
“In funding programs outside the host and neighboring communities, our strategy is to connect multiple agencies and expand our social footprint to communities in the greater Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino area,” she added.
According to Idio, the mine has been deeply involved with its two host provinces over many years through the delivery of its Social Development Management Plan or SDMP “but the CDF allows us to share the benefits of the Didipio Mine outside our immediate community.”
“We hope similar companies can replicate the program in the future, further expanding the social impact and building more resilience across the region,” she said.
Administered through a grant program, the funds are released based on project proposals — developed by local organizations — that are aligned with the mine’s seven pillars of benefit-sharing such as infrastructure, enterprise development, sociocultural or IP program, capacity building, disaster response/management and environment, health and education.
Idio said the new projects, which focus on the infrastructure needs of the host provinces, already commenced during the fourth quarter of 2022.
She also said each project will receive up to P3 million for farm-to-market networks and connections to evacuation centers.
“However, there will be a strong focus on building capabilities of project proponents to craft complete project proposals, not just one-off construction projects, a skill they can use for future improvement initiatives,” Idio added.
Lawyer Joan Adaci-Cattiling, Didipio Mine president and general manager, said the goal of the CDF was to set up the basis for a self-reliant and resilient community.
“The greatest contribution we can make is the legacy we will leave behind. It’s all about purposeful giving,” Adaci-Cattiling added.