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NAC-CMC: Helping communities rise from the Covid-19 pandemic

by Philippine Resources - December 09, 2020

NAC-CMC donated PHP1 million for the construction of a Molecular Testing Laboratory (MTL) in Surigao del Norte to boost the province’s detection capability.

By: Sarah Mae M. Palacio

As the world is facing a historic crisis brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the economic impacts of the pandemic is felt around the world—especially among far-flung communities that have limited access to government services.

In Dinagat Islands, Cagdianao Mining Corporation—a subsidiary company of Nickel Asia Corporation—is stepping up the plate to respond to the needs not only of its host and neighbouring communities but around the island-province as well.

Notably, NAC-CMC sprung into action even before the pandemic was declared in mid-March. Here are some of the activities, programs, and projects initiated by the company since January this year. January After health authorities announced the first infection in the country in late January, NAC-CMC rolled up its sleeves and conducted a series of information and education campaign to equip our communities with vital knowledge on how to prevent themselves from being infected with the virus. Through the guidance from reliable authorities such as the World Health Organization and the Department of Health, the company taught community stakeholders basic health protocols to avoid catching the virus, such as proper handwashing, basic étiquette when sneezing and coughing, and social distancing. The company also prohibited the selling of goods to the foreign vessels that were coming in as a precaution.

February Just as when the public was only beginning to understand the severity of the virus, NAC-CMC already formulated strategies and precautionary measures to prevent the entry of COVID-19 in its mine site. This proactive thinking has earned praises from no less than Dr. Jillian Francis Lee, the Provincial Health Officer, who praised the company for immediately instituting wide-ranging health protocols against Covid-19 across its operations.NAC-CMC was one of the first companies to comply with the health protocols mandated by the Bureau of Quarantine, MARINA, the Philippine Port Agency, and the Department of Health. March When the first local transmission was detected in the country, quarantine restrictions became more severe, impacting businesses and causing job losses and economic displacements especially among the poor. Local governments implemented drastic movement restrictions and lockdowns to respond to the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The province of Dinagat Islands was not an exemption, ordering the stoppage of operations and banning of entry of foreign vessels into the mining sites. NAC-CMC was not spared, and the jobs of its nearly 2,000 employees were on the line. Community-assisted livelihood groups were also in danger of losing much-needed financial support.

However, NAC-CMC’s foresight and proactive health measures that were put in place early on have paid off. Seeing its commitment to preventing the entry of the virus and its desire to help communities and assist the local and provincial governments to fight the virus, the Provincial Government gave the green light for the company to continue its mining operations.

At this point, the company further intensified its Covid-19 containment measures by installing care and containment centers in its mine site while putting in place systems and procedures to ensure that its employees, contractors, and its communities are protected. For instance, incoming stevedores and employees were required to undergo a 14-day quarantine, supervised by the company’s owned physician and health personnel.

Impressed by its readiness and forward-thinking initiatives, Governor Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao personally visited the company’s containment center together with the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to certify the company’s capability in handling the Persons Under Monitoring (PUM). She also praised the implementation of ship loading protocols on the prevention of the spread of the virus.

At this time, NAC-CMC is on full-throttle rallying the people to further ensure that the company and the community are protected from Covid-19. No less than Dr. Alvin Pura, the company physician with Engr. Arnilo C. Milaor, the Resident Mine Manager, led the series of information and education drive among residents and village officials in host and neighbouring communities as well as the employees to ensure that all the health measures in place are complied with at all times. Engr. Milaor and Dr. Pura also reassured all stakeholders that the company will continue providing assistance to boost the Covid-19 response of both the local and provincial governments.

April A major part of the company’s response efforts focused on providing its communities with the basic necessities, amid the lockdown and restriction movements that made it difficult for people to access food and other essential services. To strengthen its Covid-19 response, NAC-CMC turned over a Heavy-Duty Isuzu Truck worth PHP1.5 million to the Municipality of Cagdianao. The truck improved the town’s mobility in responding to crisis situations and aided it greatly in its relief operations. Mayor Adolfo E. Longos said, “the service truck is very useful especially that the local government unit has many programs and activities to combat COVID-19, particularly in the distribution of relief goods to the 14 barangays of Cagdianao and serves as service vehicle during emergency cases.”

In the following week, the company also handed over a Service Ambulance to the Municipality to address emergency cases at a time of the pandemic.

June Data from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Caraga, CMC has disbursed over PHP3 million from its Social Development and Management Program or SDMP and PHP 1.3 million from its Corporate Social Responsibility. Most of these funds went to food supplies such as rice, bangus, canned goods for host and neighbouring communities, personal protective equipment to the medical front-liners, survival garden kits to 1,300 households that included short-term seeds.

A special project for the province was also donated by NAC-CMC for the “Katre-Karpintero” program of Governor Kaka consisting of 150 beds intended for all the seven municipalities in the province. The project also benefited carpenters and construction workers from various municipalities who were tapped to work for the project.

More notably, NAC-CMC also donated PHP1 million for the construction of a Molecular Testing Laboratory (MTL) in Surigao del Norte to boost the province’s detection capability. The other companies involved in the project are NAC sister-company Taganito Mining Corporation and the Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation.

July – Present NAC-CMC’s commitment to assist its communities in all fronts continues to this day. The company continues to provide both the province and local governments the necessary assistance to combat Covid-19 through the provision of rapid test kits, PPEs, hand washing devices, and medicines. It has also provided regular supplies of rice and other necessities to the provincial care and containment centers, helping farmers and local suppliers in the process.

As of October, CMC has spent PHP6,354,020 from its Social Development and Management Program (4,516,141.04) and Corporate Social Responsibility (Php 1,837,879.16).

These and all efforts that began even before the pandemic have greatly resulted in NAC-CMC maintaining its status as a Covid-free mine site, while helping barangay, municipal, and provincial governments in their pandemic response. The company commits to sustain these initiatives as long as the situation requires, in keeping with its mission to make mining an important partner in community development—especially in times of crises.

“CMC is in unity with the LGU of the Province and the National government down to Local Inter-agency task force (IATF) in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in its workplace and the community where we operate. CMC successfully implemented its 3 level infectious disease prevention by strict adherence to 14-day quarantine of the foreign vessels, acquisition of entry permit issued by PDI and health inspection of CMC medical staff of all vessel's crew. For the protection of our host and neighbouring communities, we provide necessary assistance such provision of sanitation kits, regular IEC, house to house health inspection and sanitation, among others.” Engr. Milaor assured.



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