Philippine Ducks Thrive in TVIRD’s Sulphide Dam
by Philippine Resources - March 29, 2022
Photo: Philippine Ducks (Anas Luzonica), though not classified as “endangered,” are a vulnerable indigenous species that found sanctuary in TVIRD’s tailings dam. At its peak, close to 20 percent of these waterbirds’ total population may have been in Canatuan.
Oftentimes, the silence of TVIRD’s Sulphide Dam is broken only by the loud and successive quacking of the waterbirds that made the company’s Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) its sanctuary for the last seven years. The quacking is then followed by splashing on the calm waters – and one can only surmise that the Philippine Ducks (Anas Luzonica) are thriving!
Visitors of the company are always in awe of the dam’s size – some 34 hectares wide and120 meters deep. The TSF, which was used during the company’s copper-zinc mining operations, is a structural beauty in itself. Surrounded by lush and cool Mt. Canatuan, it looks like a lake with clear, green water. And the presence of the Philippine Ducks makes the man-made lake even more interesting.
Muhammad Faz Ur Rahman J. Werble, Ecosystem Management Specialist of the DENR’s Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Siocon, confirmed the presence of the Philippine Ducks at the Sulphide Dam.
“The Philippine Ducks are migratory birds and are endemic to the Philippines,” he said.
Werble has been heading a team of CENRO personnel in conducting the Annual Asian Waterbirds Census for three consecutive years now. He said the reason it is conducted annually is because of the presence of a large number of threatened endemic Philippine Ducks.
“It is possible that the ducks come from nearby areas and chose to stay there because the Sulphide Dam is protected and no hunting is allowed,” he added.
Werble also disclosed that the Philippine Ducks are dependent on wetlands for its food, shelter and breeding ground. It feeds on shrimp, fish, insects, and vegetation, which he believes are abundant in the area.
According to online sources, Philippine Ducks are large dabbling ducks that “feed mainly at the surface rather than by diving.” They are classified as “vulnerable” because it has a small population and undergoing a rapid continuing decline due to extensive over-hunting and loss of habitats. As few as an estimated 5,000 remain all over the country.
“The Annual Asian Waterbird Census is done every month of January of the year by CENRO Siocon to monitor the number and migration of bird species, including the Philippine Ducks at TVIRD’s dam,” said Werble.
During the first census that he conducted in 2019, Werble said he was happy to count more than 500 Philippine Ducks at the tailings facility. In 2020, its population reached 950 but came down to around 700 in 2021 due to migration. “These birds are a migratory specie. It migrates from one place to another.”
At its peak, close to 20 percent of these waterbirds’ total population may have been in Canatuan. It is also likely that this figure will rise during the next migration.
Aside from Philippine Ducks, the TVIRD’s tailings storage facility is often visited by Kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) and Hawk Eagles (Nisaetus Cirrhatus) – which like the Philippine Ducks, also hunt for food there. Different kinds of bats, birds and snakes like the Philippine Cobra also found their home in the surrounding forest area.
Even during the copper-zinc mining operation, the Sulphide Dam is laden with freshwater fish that the Canatuan locals identified as hito (cat fish), kasili (eel) and halwan (mudfish), to name a few.
Tribal leaders in Canatuan agree on the observations of visitors that at the foot of the lush Mt. Canatuan lies a beautiful lake – a refreshing view to anyone who wants to savor the silence of the mountain and its surrounding.
A silence that can only be disturbed by the vigorous quacking sound of the Philippine Ducks that continue to thrive in its new habitat.
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Philippine Resources - June 30, 2021
Imelda Residents: Help Came When We Needed It Most
A helping hand. TVIRD’s Community Relations team led by Khalil Tabernero distributed food packs to Imelda Town’s flood victims who were lining-up alongside the company’s service vehicle. Physical distancing was strictly implemented in the queues while some food packs were delivered directly to households by the team. “It was a touching gesture. The assistance provided to us came when we needed it most. Thank you so much, TVIRD,” said Imelda Town residents who were provided with food packs by TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD). The assistance came after the devastating storm battered the town and hit Barangay Poblacion the hardest. Danny Gamil, leader of a barangay purok (a subset of a barangay) and neighbor Nolyn G. Palme said the arrival of the food packs helped their families survive for days after Storm Crising brought heavy flooding. Gamil is one of the town’s earliest settlers. He said all the residents of his purok and others of this barangay received the food packs delivered by the company’s Community Relations personnel who were led by Khalil Pope Tabernero. The company’s efforts provided immediate relief to an estimated 400 families in the municipality. Earlier, TVIRD provided assistance to some 250 families from Barangays Dimalinao, Kahayagan and Dipili directly after Crising battered these barangays with strong floods and extraordinary rainfall. PAGASA warned of “isolated to scattered flooding, including flash floods and rain-induced landslides” in vulnerable areas. Specifically for Zamboanga del Sur, this is not the first time that a natural disaster of this magnitude brought savage destruction to homes and farmlands. A touching gesture “I was really touched, seeing all those goods delivered to us by TVIRD. Its arrival comforted us, made us see the goodness of men,” said Palme, 29-year old wife of a fish vendor and mother of three. She said that their family had no income for days and that she and her husband have been clearing their house of debris after it was submerged by flood water. “Everything was washed away by the flood. We only salvaged our TV set and a cooking utensil. We are hard-up and do not have income. Adding to our misery was the lockdown imposed on us again – we cannot even go out. But thanks to TVIRD’s food packs, which sustained us for several days,” Palme said. Imelda food packs being distributeded Farmer and tricycle driver Gerson F. Bacleta, said TVIRD’s help was unexpected, especially since Imelda is located almost 50 kilometers from TVIRD’s facilities in Bayog Municipality, Zamboanga del Sur Province. “We did not expect it, but I am grateful because the assistance helped feed my family for three days. It was the only assistance that we received after the storm,” he said. “Sadly, my rice land is buried with mud and can no longer be salvaged,” Bacleta shared. He would have harvested about a month after the storm. Devastating flood Gamil said the May 14 flood was “devastating.” However, he also refuted reports that it was the first time Imelda town experienced this kind of flooding. “Hesus, 47 anyos na ko. Dili lang kay kini ang baha nga nakahatag ug daku nga kadaut sa among lungsod. May mga baha kaniadto nga nalunopan pod ang mga balay (Jesus! I am 47 years old already. This is not the only flood that brought so much destruction to our town. There were floods before that also submerged houses here),” he said. Imelda is a fourth-class municipality situated along Sibugay River, which is considered the longest body of water in Sibugay Province. During the May 14 flooding, a huge volume of water from the river found its way to Imelda and other towns of the province.
Philippine Resources - August 31, 2021
From Educators to Licensed Professionals: TVIRD Scholars Make Waves in Their Chosen Fields
Photo Caption: Our future. Children study and play at the Canatuan Elementary and National High School – an institution that TVIRD helped build during its operations in the area from 2004-2014, and from which time the company has been the host municipality’s strongest partner in promoting responsive education. (TVIRD file photo) Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte / July 2021 – She knows what it is to be poor at a young age, being born to poor parents and raised by a single mother who died while she was in her primary years. The harrowing experience of being bullied because of poverty made Joanamarie Gabayan vow to have a stable job in the future. At 19, she fulfilled her promise to herself and joined the academe where a decent, fulfilling and stable job as a professional teacher awaited her. Joanamarie, “Joan” to family and friends, earned her degree in elementary education in 2015. She took and passed the professional board examination for teachers then and landed a teaching job the following year – thanks to the scholarship program of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) in Canatuan. Now 25 years old and already married, Joan is currently teaching the Subanon children at Barangay Tabayo Elementary School of this town. Assigned as an Indigenous People Education (IPEd) teacher by the Department of Education (DepEd), she instructs her pupils on basic education that is responsive to their context, respects their identities and promotes the values of their indigenous knowledge, skills and other aspects of their cultural heritage – all in line with DepEd Order 50 series of 2016. Looking back at her humble beginning, Joan said she is forever grateful to the company that helped her realize her dream. “I could not have reached this far without TVIRD,” she said. Giving back Police Corporal Rasul Agang, also a former scholar of the company agrees with her. A graduate of BS in Criminology at a state university in Siocon town, Corporal Agang is now proudly serving his “kababayans” as a member of the Siocon Police Station. At 27, Rasul said he “walks the talk” of the PNP Motto which is to “Serve and protect.” A son of a fisherman, Rasul shared that ever since he was young, he wanted to become a police officer. “That was my dream, and I was able to achieve it through the help of the company. I am always proud of being a scholar and part of the TVIRD family, knowing that it is a responsible mining company,” he said. Rasul cited TVIRD’s ongoing final mine rehabilitation in Canatuan, which started in 2016. The program consists of “re-greening” and restoring the company’s former mine site to its former condition and covers all disturbed areas during its 10-year mining operations from 2004. Equally thankful is geologist-scholar Ryan Lumabi, also a Subanon from Sitio Canatuan. Ryan currently works as a project geologist at Premium Megastructures Inc. in Misamis Oriental. “I just want to say thank you very much to TVIRD for making my dream possible. It really was impossible for me to reach my dream given that we were poor. But (they) gave me the opportunity to study and graduate as well as assisted me financially while taking the board examinations,” he said. Investing in education “TVIRD believes that education plays a vital role in empowering its Subanon partners; hence, the company must invest on it,” according to TVIRD President Yulo Perez who was then Canatuan General Manager who institutionalized the company’s College Scholarship Program in early 2005. According to him the program seeks to provide the poor but deserving Subanons with access to education so they will be able to help the tribe’s elders in managing the development of their homeland – all according to their needs and outlook, and within their cultural and traditional framework. Also included in the grant were underprivileged but deserving non-tribal scholars residing within the immediate community and the host municipality of Siocon. From 2004 to 2020, TVIRD spent more than Php11-million pesos for its scholarship program. The amount is on top of the construction cost of the first school buildings and library of Canatuan Elementary and National High School as well as the salaries of both school’s first four school teachers. TVIRD also provided school buses for the pupils and students of both schools. The first bus could accommodate 48 passengers and ferried the children as far as Sitio Kilometer 8, a sub-village of Kilalaban of the neighboring town of Baliguian, and Sitio Paduan of Barangay Candiz in Siocon town. When TVIRD concluded its Canatuan operations in 2014, it also produced professional teachers, nurses, midwives, civil engineers, agriculturists, geologists, an environmental engineer, a forester and a member of the Philippine Navy. Geologist Ryan Lumabi mentioned earlier that the education provided to him by the company gave him the fighting chance to reach his dream. “Mining may cease, and TVIRD may eventually leave Canatuan. But the education it provided will live on in the hearts of its scholars whose lives were touched and changed for the better,” he concluded.
Philippine Resources - June 30, 2021
One Year Hence: Communities are at the Heart of Agata COVID-19 Initiatives
Photo Credit: TVI Resources - Agusan del Norte PDRRMC receives COVID-19 Kits that include rubber boots, alcohol, face shields, face masks, gloves, and water supplies. It has been more than a year ago since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as global pandemic. This deadly virus triggered devastating economic and social disruption as it shuttered business establishments and affected millions with death and disease. By the end of the first quarter in 2020, the Philippines was likewise left vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. In active response to the needs of the community, Agata Mining Ventures Inc. remained committed more than ever to serving its stakeholders by rolling-out projects that aimed to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic. COVID-19 initiatives At the onset of the pandemic, the company distributed various Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) from Manila as part of its immediate response to the needs of medical frontliners in the Mindanao region. Along with mother company, TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD), Agata distributed critical PPEs: N95 face masks, face shields and surgical and examination gloves to protect frontliners, including local government personnel, medical workers, police, civilian volunteers and checkpoint personnel. It also provided relief to more than 10,000 families in its respective areas and sourced majority of its fresh vegetables from farmers and other goods from local establishments. The company’s initiative did not only address food shortage but also provided a source of income for local producers. Aside from directly supporting the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolks, Agata also aided its communities by capacitating its people with new skills. The company’s Mabakas Techno Demo Farm provided scholarships and trainings for the locals, bringing its total number of scholars since 2018 to almost 4,000. The National Certificate courses at Mabakas are funded by the company’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds and conducted in partnership with the country’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). These courses also aim to help the graduates obtain alternative livelihood and tap economic opportunities despite the pandemic. Agata extended additional assistance to displaced students by providing school equipment to enable them to study from home. The company distributed heavy-duty photocopiers and paper supplies to partners Barangay Tinigbasan National High School and Elementary School, Barangay Lawigan Elementary School and Kauswagan De Oro Elementary School in Barangay E. Morgado. A reliable partner Today, Agata continues to performs its role in building communities as it creates employment opportunities for the general welfare of its stakeholders. During the pandemic, the company recruited a total of 78 new personnel – majority of whom are from Caraga. “I am thankful that despite COVID-19 I am able to get a new job. I know it is not easy to be employed, given our situation now,” stated Precious Erap, resident of Butuan – a newly-hired purchaser at Agata. Dareem Angob, a resident of Santiago Municipality of this province, expressed that her ‘acquired knowledge’ from the Mabakas Organic Farming course, which she took during the pandemic, is very useful and that she now has a vegetable garden right at her doorstep. Agata likewise promotes organic backyard gardening as an alternative source of food and income during the lockdown. It also conducts regular information and education campaigns on COVID-19 to keep the communities abreast of health protocols. Driven by its philosophy of “Starting it right, keeping the end in mind,” Agata continues to operate responsibly throughout the pandemic while ensuring the integrity of both the community and its natural environment. It also continues to create new innovations that conserve natural resources as well as pave the way for the people’s progress – all for a sustainable future.
Philippine Resources - May 26, 2022
Legal framework needed for gov’t to invest in nuclear power plant
Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said there is a need to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to enable the government to invest in nuclear power plants. This, as the incoming administration has expressed its support in considering a nuclear power plant to be part of the country’s energy mix. “As of now, the government does not have the ability to put up conventional nuclear power plant because the National Power Corp. does not have mandate on this,” Erguiza said in Filipino during the Laging Handa public briefing Wednesday. With the privatization of the power sector under the EPIRA, the government could not enter into power generation. “But we can align together, with the drafting or putting up of the regulatory framework, we can amend our laws to include the government among those that can fund a nuclear power plant,” he added. Erguiza said that based on studies of the Korean Hydro Nuclear Power Company of South Korea and ROSATOM of Russia, they have found out that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) can still be rehabilitated. According to ROSATOM, an investment of around USD3 billion to USD4 billion is needed to revive the BNPP. Presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier mentioned that part of his energy agenda is to revive the BNPP to become an additional source of clean and cheap power. On the other hand, Erguiza said the government can invest in power generation using small modular reactors, the latest nuclear energy technology, in missionary areas that are not connected to the grid.
Philippine Resources - May 26, 2022
Dutch gov’t backs SMC, Boskalis in P740 billion Bulacan Airport project
Photo credit: Palafox Dutch gov’t backs SMC, Boskalis in P740 billion Bulacan Airport project San Miguel Corporation (SMC) received its strongest support yet for its game-changing P740-billion New Manila International Airport (NMIA) project in Bulacan following the approval of the Dutch government of an export credit insurance (ECI) for the project’s land development phase. The approval comes after over a year of rigorous review of the project’s long-term environmental and social impact mitigation measures to ensure that the multi-billion project is done with sustainability in mind and aligned with the country’s climate ambitions. The Dutch government, represented by Atradius Dutch State Business (DSB), extended the ECI to Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., to cover its EUR 1.5 billion contract for land development works at the airport project site in Bulakan, Bulacan. The NMIA project is the largest in Boskalis’ over 100-year history, and is also the largest export credit agency (ECA) insurance policy granted in the 90-year history of Atradius. SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang thanked the Dutch government for its support to NMIA, a project seen to catalyze sustainable economic growth for the Philippines, especially post-pandemic. It is seen to deliver over a million jobs to Filipinos. “This is a significant milestone not only for San Miguel and the NMIA project, but for the entire country. With this, we are closer to our dream of having a world-class, future-ready, and sustainably-built international gateway, proudly built by Filipinos for the Philippines. This also validates our work with Boskalis to ensure that this project is done right, and will provide long-term economic, environmental, and social benefits to our host communities and Bulacan province,” Ang said. In a statement posted on Boskalis’ international website, its CEO Peter Berdowski, said: “I am very pleased that all the hard work with a large team of experts has been successfully completed (today). For more than a year, we have worked intensively with Atradius DSB to ensure that the construction of the new airport will take place in a socially responsible manner.” He added: “In collaboration with Atradius DSB, the Dutch embassy, we succeeded in developing a broadly supported plan with an eye for the local community and the preservation of biodiversity. I would like to thank all those involved for their contribution to the positive decision of the State.” In the same statement, Atradius DSB Managing Director Bert Bruning said: “This project is unique on so many levels. Firstly, of course, as a very important contract for our client Boskalis, but also for us, as the largest ECA policy in our 90-year history,” he said. “In addition, I am proud of the fact that together with Boskalis and San Miguel, by keeping up the dialogue, we were able to ensure that the project is to meet international standards in the field of environmental and social conditions. In doing so, we have not only contributed to making this wonderful contract possible built also really made a difference together for the local communities and nature.” As part of the ECI process, a large group of experts from San Miguel, together with Boskalis and four renowned consultancy firms, conducted an extensive environmental and social impact assessment in accordance with the highest international standards. This process also included the conduct of impact analyses and compensation packages for adverse effects of the project. “This shows that the airport project and our environmental and social mitigation plans are not only sound, but robust and strong, given they can pass not only international standards but the exacting requirements of the Dutch government. It is another testament to the ability of Filipinos to be world-class,” Ang said. “We will continue to work with Atradius, the banks, experts, national and local government, and all stakeholders to ensure we will build this project in a sustainable manner and in compliance with the highest international environment and social standards,” Ang reaffirmed. added. The airport project will feature four parallel runways, a world-class terminal, and a modern and interlinked infrastructure network that includes expressways and railways. Article courtesy of San Miguel Corp
Philippine Resources - May 25, 2022
CTPCMC Allocates 7.7M for COVID-19 Initiatives
Article by: Roniel R. Arguillas - CTPCMC ICE Officer BAYANIHAN AMIDST THE COVID-19 BATTLE In order to protect and improve the lives of the people within the host and neighboring communities pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, CTP Construction and Mining Corporation or CTPCMC allocated 7.7 million pesos intended for the implementation of projects, programs, and activities (PPAs) on COVID-19 prevention. Through its Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) under Adlay Mining Project (AMP) and Dahican Nickel Project (DNP) the company implemented essential PPAs in the year 2021. The beneficiaries of PPAs were from the Host and Neighboring communities specifically Barangay Adlay, Barangay Dahican and Municipality of Carrascal. With an allocated budget of P2,060,803.78, a Covid-19 Assistance Center was put up to be the second line of support to the host communities if their existing Isolation Rooms have been fully occupied. The company’s employees and their dependents are to be prioritized in the center. The center is offering services which include free isolation room for those who are identified and confirmed as covid-19 patients, free vitamins, and over-the-counter drugs, 24/7 monitoring by health personnel and stand-by oxygen concentrators. Another PPA was the provision of 59 medical equipment and kits to Barangay Adlay. The provision included pulse oximeter, thermal scanner, LCD full digital ultrasound machine, hospital bed and refrigerator as vaccine storage. The turnover was done on December 14, 2021, held at Barangay Hall of Adlay. It was attended by Engr. Charlo R. Basadre CTPCMC Resident Mine Manager, Charid O. Cuadrillero ComRel Manager, Hon. Norberto O. Rubi Jr. Barangay Captain, and Raquel Bungcaras assigned nurse. “These are very essential and a huge help to the key front liners and to the people within the community.” Hon. Rubi said during the turnover. The company also provided two SDMP Emergency Response Vehicles for health-related emergencies.