Miners realign SDMP funds to aid mining communities
Local miners were allowed to re-align their billions of Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds to conduct relief operations in communities surrounding their mining operations during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement, MGB has authorized its regional offices across the country to allow mining companies to re-align their unutilized SDMP fund to assist their host community and neighboring barangays during the national health crisis.
The SDMP is supposedly a tool for the development and implementation of community programs, projects and activities for the host and neighboring communities of a mining project.
This is a five-year plan geared towards the development of a responsible, self-reliant and resource-based communities capable of developing, implementing and managing development programs, projects and activities.
As of June 2018, the estimated amount committed by mining companies for their respective SDMP was about P16.81 billion.
Around 790 barangays stand to benefit from the implementation of this program.
In a recent memorandum, MGB said mining companies shall prepare a schedule of the utilization of the re-aligned budget until the threat of COVID-19 is gone.
“The re-aligned fund should be utilized on a staggered basis i.e. 12 to 17 percent every week,” MGB said.
“All necessary documents for the accounting of the utilization of re-aligned SDMP fund, such as official receipts and proof of purchase of food and medical supplies and the like, shall be included in the quarterly accomplishment report to be submitted by the mining contractors/permit holders subject to monitoring of the MGB Regional Office concerned,” it added.
Meanwhile, MGB also extended the submission of reportorial requirements among mining com¬panies during the pandemic. It also suspended the payment of regulatory fees as prescribed under the mining contracts issued to companies.
Because of the pandemic, some of the largest mining companies in the Philippines, one of the highly mineralized countries in the world, opted to suspend their operations.