SURIGAO CITY, July 1 -- The members of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) have collectively disbursed more than P38 million of their Social Development Management Program (SDMP) fund for various coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief efforts to benefit frontliners and host communities during the two-month enhanced community quarantine period (ECQ).
PNIA has also been working in solidarity with Act as One, Kalinga Kontra Kovid (KKK) QC, as well as local and national government authorities in providing assistance to key hospitals in Metro Manila and to more than 66,200 households in Caraga, Zambales, and Palawan.
"We try our best to keep our commitment to our host communities especially during these trying times. It's definitely a challenging time for our business operations but our local communities are our partners throughout the years and saving lives is our priority right now," said Atty. Dante R. Bravo, PNIA president.
Aside from providing 31,800 food packs and sharing over 26,960 sacks of rice to their host communities, mining companies also organized transportation for displaced individuals, set up disinfection tents and facilitated disinfection drives in the area.
Other member companies likewise sourced majority of its fresh produce from local farmers and other goods from local establishments to stimulate the region's economy. Due to ECQ restrictions on transportation, these farmers faced the risk of spoilage of their produce - in addition to the challenge of putting food on their own tables.
PNIA member companies donated over 20,300 units of medical supplies including facemasks, personal protective equipment (PPEs), digital thermal scanners, vitamins, and other medical and disinfection supplies to local government units and various non-government organizations.
In addition, PNIA recently donated 5,000 test kits through Act as One to help fast track rapid testing efforts of local government units in Metro Manila and other selected cities in the country.
Over and beyond allocating SDMP funds, PNIA members have also prepared a COVID-19 response fund to support employees and local community stakeholders through salary continuance, and various forms of assistance during the crisis.
"We also ensure highest health and safety standards are enforced in our mining operations, during and beyond the ECQ to protect the welfare of our employees, partners, and communities. PNIA members are strictly following quarantine protocols and information campaign efforts to help mitigate transmission of the virus," said Bravo.
PNIA members have also been resolute in implementing quarantine protocol guidelines mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force for COVID-19 (IATF) in coordination with local government authorities. The companies also augment the local government's information and education drive by proactively promoting awareness on social distancing and proper hygiene procedures within the local host communities.
Looking beyond the pandemic, PNIA members looks forward to bounce back and help reinvigorate the country's economy towards recovery.
"Each company is doing its best to balance the impact of this crisis and at the same time uphold the safety of all our stakeholders but we are optimistic that will survive this," Bravo said. (PNIA/PIA-Surigao del Norte)