Friday, December 22, 2006

TVI Completes Canatuan Social Dev't Plan

In the area of Community Infrastructure,TVIRD hopes to complete the Tanuman Settlement Area that the company will build together with the indigenous people. Under the SDMP Education Program, TVIRD will strengthen the Functional Literacy Program for Canatuan; expand the College Scholarship Program; and continue to provide daycare and elementary schoolteachers in nearby villages. TVIRD will strengthen and expand its livelihood program, which will now include, among others, the production of medium to long-term crop like abaca and rubber.

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE (Rochell Hilario / 22 Dec) - After many months of consultations with residents of communities within and around its gold-copper project in Mount Canatuan in Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte provice, TVI Resource Development Philippines, Inc. (TVIRD) has completed the approval process for its Social Development and Management Plan (SDMP) from the Philippine Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).

The approval enables the TVI to build on the gains of its social development initiatives in its host and impact communities since it began production in 2004. This will be done through the enhancement of ongoing initiatives with the introduction of various organizational and program mechanisms that are responsive to the needs identified by these communities.

“While we have endeavored to fulfill our initial community development objectives in the first two years of our operations, we have also been working hard to finalize this important document that would formalize our commitment to the sustainable development of Canatuan and its neighboring barangays,” said Eugene Mateo, TVIRD president.

“We are glad to have finally accomplished this requirement, and we thank the MGB for acknowledging the tangible projects we have done for the improvement of the quality of life in our host community prior to the approval of our SDMP.”

Felice Yeban, TVIRD Community Relations and Development Organization director, said the consultation process and amount of time taken to produce many iterations resulting from feedback from the community and accommodating the community’s wishes took a while to complete the SDMP. "We are happy with the result but we view the Plan as a living document, a work in progress. We intend to do more and, as can be gleaned from our concrete development initiatives in the first phase, that is, from mid-2004 to mid-2006, our actions will speak louder than our words,” Yeban said.

These initiatives, Yeban said, include the cleanup of mercury and cyanide tailings left by illegal small-scale miners that previously operated in Canatuan and the planting of more than 62,000 trees in 2 ½ years. And the building of roads, health clinics, and schoolhouses, as well as the provision of livelihood projects, employment, and previously inaccessible basic services like water supply, electricity, including housing to the Subanon ancestral domain owners of Canatuan.

“TVIRD’s approved SDMP provides the framework that will serve as the company’s guidebook, as it continues to support the welfare of the people in its immediate and secondary affected communities,” MGB Western Midnanao regional director Constancio Paye, Jr., explains. “We now have a document that captures the many good things the company has done and will continue to do for its host communities in the areas of livelihood, basic services, health and environmental safety, their socio-economic enhancement and sustainability on and beyond the mine life.”

According to the TVIRD SDMP, the company will principally strengthen and expand first phase programs in the second phase (mid-2006 to 2008) through socio-economic projects and services spelled out during the community consultations.

These include a livelihood program that will focus on the production of medium and long-term crops like abaca and rubber; the formation of farmer instructor technician team that will spread the sustainable food security and environmental protection technology to other small farmer groups; the establishment of cooperative-operated trading center in strategic marketing locations; as well as the continuous upgrading of technical skills in upland farming of FIT and clients on upland crop diversification.

Included in the Health and Sanitation Program are the provision of a potable water system to five needy immediate impact barangays; the completion of a community hospital; and the establishment of herbal gardens.Under the SDMP Education Program, TVIRD will strengthen the Functional Literacy Program for Canatuan; expand the College Scholarship Program; and continue to provide daycare and elementary schoolteachers in nearby villages.

In the area of community infrastructure, the company hopes to complete the Tanuman Settlement Area that TVIRD will build together with the IPs.
TVIRD will implement five distinct but interrelated strategies to achieve the second phase: Sustainable Community Development; Organizational Development; Information, Education & Communications; Institutional Networking/Advocacy; and Resource Accessing.Following the provisions of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, TVIRD allots a minimum of 1% of the direct mining and milling costs annually – over and above the royalty equivalent to 1% Net Smelter Revenue that Subanons have been receiving from the company.

Of this amount, 90% is appropriated to implement the SDMP, and the remaining 10% for the development of mining technology and geosciences, as the well as the corresponding manpower training and development.In 2005, the Subanons of Canatuan received a total of P5 million in royalty payments from TVIRD. From January to September 2006, they earned P10 million, and are expected to get P4 million more by yearend.

TVIRD’s SDMP was revised in two timeframes. In April 2005, the company employed the services of the Green Earth Multi-Purpose Cooperative which touched base with the Canatuan Project’s impact areas, particularly those communities covered by the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title.

In the first quarter of 2006, TVIRD’s Community Development Office – recently reorganized as CReDO – initiated individual community profiling and consultations in 11 villages affected by the project, namely: Tabayo, Pisawak and Bulacan in Siocon town; Kilalaban in Baliguian town (both towns of which are in Zamboanga del Norte Province; and J.S. Perfecto, Malubal, New Sagay, San Fernandino, and San Antonio, all in R. T. Lim town in Zamboanga Sibugay Province.

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