Agata Marks Another Year of Transformative Mining
Following its back-to-back Presidential Awards and First Runner-up recognition at the ASEAN Mineral Awards, Agata Mining Ventures Inc. capped another year of transformative mining operations for its beneficiaries – one that has elevated its stakeholders from the towns of Tubay, Santiago and Jabonga into resilient communities that are ready for the future.
To commemorate its mutual success with the people, key Agata officers and staff staged its annual Community Day and Thanksgiving Awards Night for the appreciation of its host municipalities, employees and contractors.
Agata’s transformative programs are geared towards improving the socio-economic conditions of its beneficiary communities through sustainable projects that go beyond the life of mine.
It also adheres to the highest environmental standards and commits itself to safety and health through medical missions, access to the company’s clinic and doctors, safety trainings and drills, and developing fully-equipped and award-winning emergency responders as the communities’ first line of defense in times of natural calamities.
Despite the rains, residents, barangay officials, and indigenous tribal representatives attended the year’s most awaited tradition: the Agata Community Day – an annual tradition that brings all stakeholders together with Agata personnel.
A thanksgiving mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Almado C. Ecarma kick-off the occasion in Barangay Lawigan. This was followed by the distribution of over 300 grocery bags for each of the attendees who were also treated to a program, parlor games and a banquet.
Agricultural Technical Institute Regional Director Samuel Calonzo graced the occasion and conferred an Outstanding Partner certificate on the Mabakas Farm School, which is now a fully-recognized TESDA Assessment Center for its NCII (National Certification) Organic Farming and Vegetable Production. It is the first in the region established by a mining company.
“If you teach the poor how to plant, they will no longer be hungry,” said Director Calonzo during his message. Mabakas is one of the region’s gamechangers in bringing genuine development to far-flung communities.
Villar Sipag Representative Genome Fortun likewise raised the participants’ morale by sharing: “the Agata communities’ transformation into an Agro-production hub can be soon realized since there are more promising projects to be implemented through the Mabakas Farm School.” Villar Sipag Foundation Inc. is one of the key movers in facilitating technical assistance with line agencies and other support to its indigent students.
Since its establishment last year, the institution has produced over 2,000 students within Agusan del Norte – more than 130 of them already acquires their National Certification in Organic Vegetable Production.
Mabakas has also generated close to PhP 2 million in revenues from trainings and agricultural products and is now advancing its market reach across the region.
This year, the Agata Community Day also presented new facilities established especially for its eco-tourism concept for the future: the Vines View Deck, Bae Lawanen Ornamental Garden and Butterfly Greenhouse, and a new Children’s Playground within the company’s grounds.
Other than Mabakas, Agata’s Social Development Management Program likewise achieved bigger milestones in 2019. With Agata’s support, the Tinigbasan Farmers and Fisherfolks Association (TIFFA) installed a Water Refilling Station that provides accessible potable water at the barangay level as well as another source of livelihood for the organization. Previously, drinking water had to be transported by sea.
Additional pump boat engines and fishing equipment were also turned-over to host barangay Lawigan’s residents in the last quarter of 2019, apart from the completion of its joint Marine Sanctuary Watchtower.
In Santiago Municipality, residents of Barangay La Paz received 16 cattle. The year also saw the electrification of some 100 households in Barangay Tagbuyacan.
Close to P10 million in Indigenous People’s (IP) royalties also paved the way for the Mamanwas’ agroforestry plantation and Cacao production for the year. The tribe also obtained their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title during the year – making them fully-recognized owners of their land.
Economic activity and job creation have also greatly benefitted Agata communities. There are currently 400 direct Agata employees while there are more than 500 workers under its contractors as well as almost 200 business establishments that benefit from material purchases and services in the area.
In one perspective
On its fifth year of operations, Agata shares its transformative mining initiative with its communities and other stakeholders. Its best practices and success stories are an eye-opener – that despite its size, Agata proved that responsible mining is possible.
Owing to this, it received more than 25 Cross Visits from different mining companies as well as other sectors in the community that include both the academe, non-government organizations and religious, as well as different line agencies: Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, and local government units.