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PIA Press Release

Displaced mining workers receive financial assistance

Mati City, Davao Oriental (5 March) -- Some 100 displaced workers of a mining company who lost their job because of the downsizing of personnel received financial assistance to cushion the impact of unemployment and poverty. The assistance will be invested in livelihood projects such as hog dispersal, poultry raising, fishing boats, motorbikes for tricycle and "habal-habal".

To ensure the sustainability of the projects, the beneficiaries underwent a comprehensive livelihood skills training and capability enhancement through the technical assistance of the Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST) under the leadership of its president Dr. Grace Lopez.

The workers were employed by the BHP Billiton, an Australia-based mining company, which has an ongoing exploration of nickel in barangays Macambol and Cabuaya in Mati City, Davao Oriental. The assistance is part of the mining firm's corporate social responsibility in ensuring that the displaced workers will not suffer from abject poverty due to lose of income out of employment.

According to Salvador Barbado, a former employee who was assigned at the environment department, "magpasalamat gihapon mi sa companya kay ang among nadawat na benepisyo gigamit namo na capital sa pagpamalit ug mga gamit sa pangisda. Karon medyo maayo na ang among pangita sa pagpangisda kay sa una magrenta pa mi ug pumpboat" (we are very thankful to the company for the benefits given to us because we used it as capital for fishing. At present, our income from fishing has improved because unlike before where we have to rent a pumpboat).

On the other hand, Rem Balos, a former lead sampler in the geology department, said "bisan asa ta mangita, dili na ta kakita ug ingon aning kumpanya na sakto mubayad ug dili madelay ang suweldo … usahay maka advance pa" (we cannot find a company {like BHP Billitom} which provides better pay and on time…).

Emily Oponda, a former employee in community relations, said that the workers enjoyed better pay and other benefits like medical and dental services aside from what they got from the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.

The BHP Billiton has not started its exploration yet because of the legal battle wits its investment partner the Asiaticus Mining Coirp. (AMCOR). Although it was reported that the BHP Billiton won its legal battle at the international arbitration court based in Singapore. (DOSCST/PIA XI) [top]

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