Mining firm turns farmers into entrepreneurs

Philippine Information Agency

March 6, 2017 – Ben Moses Ebreo

QUEZON, Nueva Vizcaya, March 6 (PIA) – More than 500 villagers in this town are now engaged in various livelihood opportunities with the technical and financial assistance of a mining firm.

FCF Minerals Corporation, a Philippine subsidiary of UK firm Metals Exploration Plc that manages the gold-molybdenum project in barangay Runruno introduced and exposed the villagers in various aspects of livelihood project management and development.

“This was introduced in collaboration with various agencies of the government inorder to empower communities covered by our project,” said Peter Storey, FCF general manager for operations.

The mining firm started the transformation of the villagers more than 5 years through the conduct of values formation, human resource development and technical trainings on organizational development, business planning and preparation and cooperativism, among others.

These trainings and workshops were funded through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program of the company and conducted in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Nueva Vizcaya Sate Universty (NVSU) and the Department of Eduation (DepEd) to name a few.

Today, the villagers, mostly members of the Kalanguya, Ifugao, Kankanaey and Ibaloi tribes organized themselves into associations and cooperatives to further legalize their identity and further pursue their organizational goals to uplift their lives.

These are the Busat Upland Ffrmers Association (BUSAT), Kinalabasa Rural Workers Association (KRWA), Sitio Compound Women’s and Farmers’ Association (SCWFAI), Atan Vegetable Growers Association (AVGA), Bit-ang Women’s and Farmers Association (BWFA), Malilibeg Livelihood Association (MLA), Sitio Dumaliguia Women’s Association, Inc (SDWAI), Marangad Rural Workers Association (MRWA), Dipilipig Development Association, Inc. (DDAI), Baddang Kiphodan Association (BKA), Kinalabsa Rural Workers Association (KRWA), Tayab Women’s Association (TWA) and the Kabinuangan Highlanders Association (KHA).

“Our income then was only good for our daily food and we cannot send our children to school. We had a difficult life because nobody wants to expand agricultural ventures due to our remote place, bad roads and absence of capital. It was all for our daily needs,” Elam Tiago, 45, a BUSAT member said.

Elma’s six children are now in school. Two of her children are enrolled at the PLT College in Bayombong town, taking up criminology while the others are either in secondary or elementary schools in their town.

“Thanks to the help of the FCF Minerals Corporation for giving us capital assistance and we were empowered to multiply its benefits,” she added

Barangay roads were also developed by the mining firm which encouraged other villagers to expand their farmlands into productive use.

The CBOs are now sharing their income to their members through soft micro-lending schemess to help them in producing more agricultural products. It also provided jobs for their family members.

Recently, the company sponsored the First Runruno Trade Fair, in recognition of the community- based organizations (CBOs) as local partners for economic development of the barangay, municipality and the province in general.

The event showcased various local products of the livelihood organizations such as root crops, fruits and vegetables, native chicken, red eggs, processed meat, roasted meat and native dishes for the establishment of the “ Kainan sa Barrio,” a small restaurant of the BWFAI, among others.

The event also served as a promotion and marketing event for the assisted CBOs to attract investors and market outlets.

Officials of the FCF Minerals Corporation said the community development and livelihood programs are just but a few of the many packages of development assistance in store for the barangay and its adjacent villages in Quezon town.

‘With our community development programs, we see to it that no one gets left behind. We will fully comply with the required regulations and laws by the Philippine government in order to show our commitment to responsible mining standards and practices,” Storey added. (ALM/BME/PIA 2-Nueva Vizcaya)


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