The Philippine mining industry is doing its share to help during the pandemic with a P402-million relief fund that has so far benefited more than 1.4 million households and frontliners across the country.

Mining firms have pooled together the remaining funds for their respective Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) to assist their host and neighboring communities during the community quarantine imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), a line bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that oversees and regulates the mining sector, reported that as of July 8, some 1.2 million households have been provided with food packs, vegetables and garden kits through the relief fund.

This exceeded the initial target of around 1.184 million beneficiaries by more than 16,000, the MGB said.

On top of this, the MGB said that close to 210,000 frontliners have been provided with personal protective equipment and medical supplies.

Mining companies were able to raise a total of P402 million after Acting MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano had authorized them to realign their unutilized SDMP funds to help the national government in its fight against COVID-19.

“The SDMP fund has components that can be sacrificed and realigned to respond and assist the clamor of the government and the community for assistance,” Moncano said, adding that 90 percent of the pooled SDMP funds have been utilized so far.

As per DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-21 or the Consolidated Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, mining companies are required to allocate at least one percent of their annual operation cost to their SDMP to assist host and neighboring communities and in developing mining technology and geosciences.

With the supervision of MGB regional offices, mining companies nationwide simultaneously conducted a series of relief operations and donated medical equipment, including rapid COVID-19 testing kits.

The companies also provided logistical support such as service ambulance, trucks and boats to affected communities within their jurisdiction.

Moncano said the initiative, which has already benefited millions of individuals, was a result of “common agenda and objectives.”

“I am glad that through the collaboration of MGB and the mining companies, we were able to give assistance to our local government units and communities hosting mining operations,” he added. ###