A Balut Dream for Taganito Mining
by Philippine Resources - August 31, 2021
“SIFAS dreams to be able to produce balut soon to sell to the communities”
As a fresh batch of ducklings hatch in an eclectic farm in Taganito Mining, so begins the important step towards fulfilling a dream of having a balut production farm within the mine site.
Filipinos love balut. As a matter of fact, balut is associated with the Pinoy’s exotic palate and is accepted as a national delicacy in the Philippines, our “national street food”.
The town of Pateros in Taguig City is the acknowledged balut capital of the country but agriculturists in Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC) believe that there is a big market for balut in Claver, Surigao del Norte, so they started to dream of having their own balut production as means of livelihood for the communities in this mining area.
“Our main goal is to assist our partner communities and teach them to become producers of balut in the whole of Claver and adjacent towns, with lower prices so people can afford and enjoy balutproduced in their own backyards,” says Danding Elizalde, Agriculturist at TMC and the project’s overall coordinator.
A likely recipient of the balut production technology that TMC is developing is the Sapa Integrated Farmers' Association (SIFAS), one of the people organizations (POs) that TMC supports under the mining company’s Social Development Management Program (SDMP). SIFAS already has a duck farm but they are selling their egg produce until they are able to produce balut to sell.
“TMC is our biggest support in terms of funding and know-how and we cannot wait for our dream to have a balut production here in Claver,” says Mr. Virgelio Buyan, SIFAS President.
The critical first step is to grow a healthy batch of “breeders”.
Elizalde says that Ducks are one of the simplest animals to raise. They are resilient against unpredictable weather changes and do not consume a lot of time to nurture and grow.
TMC, a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), has always been on the lookout for sustainable community projects to develop and to pass on to the residents of the company’s host communities, and the Environmental Department of TMC that takes care of the protection and enhancement of the environment in the mining communities came upon the exciting idea of balut production.
“After the initial learnings, we’ve warmed up to the system of caring for the ducks and we found out it’s a piece of cake really as we do the feeding and cleaning of cages in between our daily activities and would take turns in collecting the eggs that would be laid during night,” shares Elizalde.
“It is very important to document every challenge we’ve encountered,” says Vince Ivan Libao, OIC-Environmental Manager for TMC, and Elizalde’s immediate superior.
One of the bigger hurdles was when TMC did not have an incubator. The eggs would be sold to employees every time because it was difficult to hatch them into ducklings since mother ducks would not warm on their eggs and there were bush rats that feed on them at night.
“We could not grow healthy breeders because we could not hatch most of our eggs so an incubator became a necessity so we had one fabricated in Surigao City for P60,000 pesos” explains Libao.
But with an incubator, TMC started producing ducklings and perfected the system that now produce fertile eggs with better hatchability rate with the target to produce 500 ducklings in the next few months.
At the moment, TMC is able to hatch 60 ducklings at a time and is getting nearer to the realization of its dream of having an efficient balut production farm.
TMC mine site is located in barangays Hayanggabon, Urbiztondo, Taganito and Cagdianao, in the municipality of Claver, province of Surigao del Norte. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.
Philippine Resources - April 20, 2021
TMC pays P75.5 million in taxes to Claver LGU
As part of its commitment to contribute to local economy, Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), handed over its tax payments amounting to P75.5 million to the municipality of Claver. The payments consist of P 65,329,304.37 million in Business Tax and P 10,169,769.60 in Real Property Tax which were handed last December 14, 2020 and January 20, 2021, respectively. The handover of tax payments was led by Mine Accountant Cristy Mae Comandante-Pariño, Division Manager Salvador Cabauatan and Comrel Manager Roel Paniza. On behalf of Claver LGU, the tax payments were received by Municipal Treasurer Caryl Cagas-Lukban, in the presence of Municipal Administrator Atty. Jeffrey Galido and Sanggunian Bayan members. “TMC is committed to creating a positive impact in our host and neighboring communities and one way we do this is by ensuring timely payment of our taxes which translates into projects and services for the community. This is on top of our Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program funds,” shares TMC Resident Mine Manager Artemio E. Valeroso. Based on data from the Commission on Audit consolidating the total assets of LGUs in 2019, the mining town of Claver ranked 1st among the richest municipalities in Mindanao with P 1.91 billion worth of assets. Meanwhile, Surigao del Norte ranked 6th among the richest provinces in the country with P 16.68 billion worth of assets. TMC is a four-time awardee of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative for Excellence in Reporting of payments made to the government. TMC also ranked 14th among the Department of Finance’s list of Top 500 taxpayers who filed their income tax returns ahead of the deadlines which were deferred due to lockdowns during the pandemic. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, TMC has mobilized over P 19.1 million to extend relief goods, medical supplies, test kits and other assistance to its host and neighboring communities in the province of Surigao del Norte.
Philippine Resources - June 30, 2021
Fishermen in a mining community harvest 12,000 kilos of bangus in 4 months
GAMAWA is a 21-strong fishermen’s cooperative in a mining community of barangay Wanke, Claver, Surigao del Norte. Republic Act 11535, creating the position of a Cooperatives Development Officer (CDO) mandatory in all local government units (LGUs), was signed into law last April 9. This directs the LGUs – from the municipal, city, and provincial levels – to appoint its own CDO. In Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC), a CDO is a regular job description – someone in charge of identifying promising groups in different sectors in the communities to guide and assist them to organize their own cooperatives. Edelina E. Peraz is the Community Development Coordinator at TMC and she says “as a mining company, TMC is tasked by law to ensure social and economic development of the communities and we have long acknowledged the significance of a successful cooperative to achieve this” says Peraz. One of the organizations that Peraz has been assisting since its inception is the Gagmay’ng Mananagat sa Wangke (GAMAWA), a cooperative of small fishermen in barangay Wanke, in Claver, Surigao del Norte. Last month, GAMAWA recorded another big harvest – a total of 4,270 kilos of bangus that converted a total sale of P480,238.00 pesos. But their biggest record was last December when they harvested 7,928 kilos of bangus that sold for a whopping P889,292.00. GAMAWA President, Felix Saranza’s leadership style is key to the success of the organization. CDOs, Urbiztondo (right) and Peraz (left) express that his success is TMC’s success as well. The success of GAMAWA also showcases the effective leadership of its president, Felix Saranza. “It is important to understand the interests of the individual member and of the whole group, to keep the organization intact, until everyone gets the taste of the fruits of everyone’s labor,” says Saranza. “It is a democracy, I cannot decide until everyone involved agrees, so it can be very hard sometime, but in the end, it is all worth it because members actively participate when they know they have a say in decision making,” Saranza adds. “We owe all our accomplishment to the support of TMC,” Saranza declares. Since 2017, TMC has inputted an accumulated fund of some P5.5 million pesos from the mining company’s Social Development Management Program to help GAMAWA build state-of-the-art fish cages in a 450-square meter area with 3 chambers that can handle 30,000 bangus fingerlings in a single cropping. “In a cooperative where you have members with different personal quirks, different economic challenges and demands, different issues, you need a strong leader respected by everyone to keep things together, and Mr. Saranza is perfect for the role” explains another CDO, Judy B. Urbiztondo, Senior Community Development Specialist for TMC Urbiztondo says the Co-op of GAMAWA has gone through a lot of challenges and sacrifices that taught the members valuable life lessons that got them to what they enjoy today – a strong cooperative and a sustainable livelihood. But success, according TMC’s CDOs, means the cooperative will be able to grow the fish farm bigger to better the lives of its 21 members for years and years to come. “Taganito Mining’s partnership with GAMAWA aims to prove the strength of a collaborative effort between the mining company and its communities toward a shared goal of empowering cooperatives,” explains Engr. Artemio E. Valeroso, Resident Mine Manager at TMC. Valeroso adds that another worthy take away from the success story of GAMAWA are the information from the members that help define how communities can actually take active part in the success of societies. Taganito Mining is located in Claver, province of Surigao del Norte. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.
Philippine Resources - September 24, 2021
DOTr, Pasay City sign deal for monorail, flyover extension
Residents and those working in Pasay City will soon enjoy easier public transportation after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the city government signed a deal for the construction of a monorail and extension of the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa)-Tramo flyover. In a live broadcast on Facebook on Wednesday, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the proposed Integrated Pasay Monorail and Edsa-Tramo flyover extension project. Tugade said the project will be interoperable with the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the Edsa Busway, and the Edsa Greenways. “[Ito ay] makapagbibigay ng mas mabilis at episyenteng biyahe sa mga pasahero. Magiging mas madali na rin ang access patungong central business district (CBD) ng Pasay (This will provide fast and efficient travel to passengers. Access to Pasay CBD will also be easier),” Tugade said. Aside from its benefits to commuters, he said the project will also create jobs. “Ang paulit-ulit kong sinasabi na karugtong ng mga proyekto para sa kaunlaran ay trabaho para sa Pilipino (What I have always been saying is that development projects go hand-in-hand with jobs for Filipinos),” Tugade said. He said the project is a partnership between the DOTr, Pasay City government, and SM Prime Holdings. “Makakaasa 'ho kayong magpapatuloy ang DOTr sa pagsusulong ng mga proyekto para sa ikauunlad ng pampublikong transportasyon sa bansa (You can be rest assured that the DOTr will continue to promote projects for the development of public transportation in the country),” Tugade said. The MOA signing was witnessed by Pasay City Vice Mayor Noel del Rosario, DOTr Undersecretary for Finance Giovanni Lopez, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Reinier Paul Yebra, Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, SM Prime Holdings President Jeffrey Lim, and other representatives from the Pasay City government and the private sector. On Sept. 7, the Pasay City government and the SM Prime Holdings made a joint presentation on the project to the DOTr. By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - September 24, 2021
DOTr eyes GenSan airport as alternate int'l gateway
Photo credit: Department of Transportation The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is pushing for the inclusion of the newly rehabilitated and expanded airport here as among the alternate gateways for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and international travelers. DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade proposed the move on Thursday as he personally led the formal unveiling and inauguration of the city airport’s new passenger terminal building and other completed facilities. He said the city’s international standard airport can accommodate airline passengers coming in from as far as the Middle East. Tugade said it can be realized once the proposed increase in the daily cap for returning OFWs, currently at 2,000 for the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), is approved. Once the cap is expanded, he said NAIA might “choke” with the influx of airline passengers from various countries. “If we will increase the cap, we need to expand our gateways and not limit them to Clark, Cebu, and NAIA. We can include GenSan among the gateways for travelers from Doha who are going to Manila,” he said in a press conference. He said they will propose such strategy with the airlines serving the international routes, including the Philippine Airlines, and seek the approval of the city government. The other possible alternate gateways could be the Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, Tugade said. The rehabilitated and expanded General Santos Airport passenger terminal building, which was completed early this month, is part of the PHP959-million upgrade implemented by the national government. The other completed components are the procurement and installation of navigational aids and the construction of the new Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) administration building at the airport. Under the project, Tugade said the passenger terminal area has tripled in size from 4,000 to 12,000 square meters. “This will allow the airport to accommodate more passengers and provide them comfortable and convenient travel,” he said in his speech. A DOTr report said the larger passenger terminal building can now accommodate around 2 million passengers annually, a significant jump from the previous 800,000 per year. Tugade said the improvement at the city airport will continue next year with the upgrading of its air control tower, which he considered as “too low.” He said they will build a “higher and modernized” tower in 2022 to make it “more world-class” and can easily adjust to the needs of the airport. The official said the upgrading of the airport, which started in 2018, is among the agency and the national government’s top priorities in Mindanao. He said the initiative is part of the government’s efforts to bring more progress and economic opportunities in Mindanao, which “suffered from long years of neglect in terms of development.” Tugade said they endeavored to implement these projects despite the challenges posed by the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic to pursue their goal of giving a “comfortable and convenient life” to Filipinos. “After the pandemic, we want all these developments in place and ready to benefit the people,” he said. In a video message, President Rodrigo Duterte commended the DOTr, the local government, and concerned stakeholders for completing the projects at the city airport amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He said the city has “gone a long way” in terms of the development of its air connectivity and airport facilities. “The rehabilitation and expansion of the airport passenger terminal building, among others, will truly boost General Santos City’s role as an agro-industrial and eco-tourism hub,” the President said. City Mayor Ronnel Rivera lauded the national government for helping the city realize its dream of having an international-standard airport. Aside from the expanded passenger terminal building, the airport is now capable of accommodating bigger aircraft like Boeing 737 and 747, as well as Airbus A330, A340, and A350. “(What) we are seeing now is a result of multisectoral commitment and dedication in various stages of the airport development, which includes coordination of several initiatives, preparation of the airport master plan, operations, and marketing,” he said. The mayor said the local government will continue to engage with prospective investors and airlines for the opening of more flights to and from the airport and the development of adjacent areas. He cited the proposed establishment of an aerotropolis or growth area centered on the city airport and its surrounding areas. “We are opening a wide array of opportunities, not only on the improvement of our infrastructure facilities but also in terms of investments that will generate more economic opportunities for the city and the entire region (Soccsksargen),” he said. Aside from the inauguration of the airport projects, Tugade also led the unveiling of completed initiatives at the Makar port here. The DOTr said it includes the construction of the Port Operations Building and other vital facilities, which includes a parking area, covered court, port manager’s quarter or Day Care Center, and drainage system. “The improved port of Makar will now offer safer, comfortable, and a more convenient port experience to passengers, while ensuring a faster turnaround for vessels, cargo trucks, and other ancillary service providers,” it said. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - September 22, 2021
Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway 83% Complete
Photo credit: Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway As of August 31, 2021, the construction progress of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) project was at 83.84 percent. The P30-billion toll bridge, which will be substantially completed by the end of 2021, will use a full electronic toll system when it opens to motorists in the first quarter of 2022 to enable faster traffic flow and seamless travel. The project recently marked a milestone with the completion of the installation of all 56 stay cables that hold the main bridge deck. On September 11, the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), through its contractor, installed the last and longest stay cable, which is 219 meters long. The gap on the main bridge, on the other hand, is now down to only two meters before span closure and preparations are underway for the lowering of the form travelers. These form travelers, which weigh 500 tons in each tower, were used to construct the main bridge’s pier table and deck. Also, all 434 NU (Nebraska University) girders for the entire project have already been installed. With this, the mobile launching gantry used to install the girders have been demobilized. At the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) on ramp and off ramp sections of CCLEX, construction of its substructures is complete. Ongoing works are now on the installation of precast planks and the concreting of deck slab. Also finished is the 200-meter pedestrian footbridge beside the CSCR with all six prefabricated steel walkways already installed. The footbridge will start near the U-turn slot of the South Road Properties’ welcome tower and will connect to the on-ramp sidewalk of CCLEX. At the Cebu viaduct, the construction of deck slab is ongoing. The Cordova viaduct, on the other hand, is now structurally complete with its substructure already done. Installation of handrails are underway. At the causeway, embankment works continue to progress with the placing of 20 vent pipes, which equalize the flow of seawater along the Cordova Channel, is finished. Also structurally complete are the four low-level bridges along the causeway, which will provide fishermen continued access to their fishing grounds. Aside from these, works are ongoing for the toll plaza and the CCLEX Operations and Maintenance Center. CCLEX, highlighted by its iconic crosses on top of the twin pylons of the cable-stayed main bridge over the Mactan Channel, is Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation’s (MPTC) first toll road project outside Luzon. CCLEX, which will be the third link to Mactan Island from Cordova Municipality to mainland Cebu through Cebu City’s South Road Properties, has a design speed of 80 kilometers per hour (kph) and a navigational clearance or height of 51 meters to allow large vessels to pass underneath the bridge. Not only is CCLEX seen to reduce traffic and make traveling more convenient but also spur trade activities and open greater economic opportunities for Cebu and the rest of the Visayas region. CCLEX is a project of Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), in partnership with the local government units of Cebu City and Municipality of Cordova. CCLEC is a wholly owned subsidiary of MPTC, the toll road arm of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), a publicly listed infrastructure holding company and a member of the MVP Group of Companies. MPTC is the largest toll road concessionaire and operator in the Philippines, which expansion goals include establishing toll operations in the Visayas, other parts of the Philippines, and in neighboring countries notably Vietnam, and Indonesia. Article courtesy of Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway