Philex grants Itogon P16- M for aggie high school

>> Saturday, January 28, 2017

TUBA, Benguet – Philex Mining Corp. is providing its host town of Itogon a total of P16 million to build an agricultural secondary school that would help the municipality pursue and support the national government’s program on basic education, as the company and other parties concerned have signed an agreement and broken ground to seal the deal.
Philex Mining CEO  and President Eulalio Austin, Jr., Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, and Beatriz Torno, OIC-Regional Director of the Department of Education (DepED), in Baguio City, joined other company executives and public officials in the groundbreaking ceremonies after they signed Monday, Jan. 16, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in Sitio Ayosip, Brgy. Poblacion.
 In a speech before the MOA signing, Torno said the DepED-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) cannot thank Philex Mining enough for the “legacy that it would be leaving”—its generosity in supporting projects on education. “We have many partners—partners in words, but partners in deed, I see it in Philex,” she said.
Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex Mining and resident manager of its Padcal operations in Benguet, said the two-story building, called Itogon Agricultural National High School (IANHS), will have 10 classrooms and two faculty rooms to accommodate senior high-schoolers (Grades 11 & 12) who would enroll by June. He added that building a teachers’ quarters will follow soon.
Torno said the DepED-CAR will be talking with the Benguet State University (BSU), in the provincial capital of La Trinidad, to agree in providing the academic support, especially its expertise on agricultural studies, for the IANHS. “We need the agricultural sector to prosper,” she added, stressing the need to enhance livelihood programs in the region.
Austin said the granting of funds for the IANHS is part of Philex Mining’s commitment to a humanized responsible mining, which translates to community development by building schools and roads, adhering to labor standards, protecting the environment, and promoting the welfare of stakeholders.
He added that the IANHS may also “fall under the standards” being spearheaded by Secretary Regina Lopez, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), for mining companies to “focus on the impacted communities” in implementing projects under the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
“Whereas, pursuant to Republic Act No. 7942 and DENR Administrative Order No. 96-40, Philex is committed to implement [an] SDMP to benefit its host and neighboring communities and, particularly, aimed at contributing to nation-building and developing sustainable communities,” the seven-page MOA says.
It stresses that basic education encompasses kindergarten, elementary, and secondary education, as well as alternative learning systems for primary and high-school dropouts and those with special needs.
Witnessed by Benguet Gov. Crescencio Pacalso, DepED-CAR Schools Division Superintendent Federico Martin, the acting director of CAR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-DENR, Fay Apil, and four others, the MOA also stipulates that Itogon has donated 2,850 square meters of its 23,064 sq m of land in Sitio Ayosip where the IANHS will be constructed.
Apil expressed happiness that after lengthy discussions and negotiations, the IANHS project “is now coming into reality.”
 Mayor Ignacio Rivera, of Tuba, one of Philex Mining’s two host towns in Benguet, was in attendance at the ceremonies.
                Describing the project as “one for the books,” Pacalso said: “The project is something … through the cooperation of LGU and the mining sector … to include the education sector, so this is a good project for the youth … and for all of us.
 He added, “We would like to see more of this project, in light of the unpredictable position of the central government about mining. So we want to see more of this project—to show that LGU, the mining sector, DepED, and all the other agencies” can come together for community development. “And we know that Philex is already a certified responsible mining company, and this is what we want to show—that part of its responsibility … radiates to other barangays in the municipality.”


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