In 2019, the year before the pandemic hit hard on the communities, Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), initiated a seedling production program that continues to benefit residents in the Dinagat Islands financially and proves that there is money in ‘greening’ and in environment protection activities.
To date, CMC’s “ECOmmunity Program” has already paid up some P4.4M to participants of this livelihood program from the mining company’s 5 host barangays – Boa, Cuarinta, Diegas, Legaspi and Valencia – who produced more than 1 Million seedlings and planting materials that CMC uses for its various mine rehabilitation and greening programs.
One of the participants to the program is 38 year old Bernie C. Fruta from barangay Diegas, who received P326,340.00 for producing 37,000 seedlings, mostly fruit trees and native shrubs, which he and his sub-contractor, Diosdado Duhiling, 48, grew in their own nursery over a period of 3 months.
CMC initiated the “ECOmmunity Program” to directly engage community stakeholders in the company’s rehabilitation and reforestation commitments. Fruta and Duhilig are only two among the ‘71 contractors and 124 sub-contractors’ carefully vetted to be part of the said program.
The program also aims to uplift the lives of beneficiaries through contracted seedling production, raising awareness about the environment, its protection and conservation.
“We are reaching out to the communities for this program where residents operate their own seedling nurseries from where they grow planting materials that they will provide for our reforestation and rehabilitation needs, we buy each seedling for P9 pesos each and the residents can grow thousands of them in a few months,” says Engr. Arnilo C. Milaor, CMC’s Resident Mine Manager.
Nathalie G. Radaza, CMC’s Community Output-Based Program Coordinator, testifies that many “ECOmmunity” participants have not had the chance before to hold in their hands such huge amounts of money. Radaza, who recently graduated in 2018 with a degree in Environmental Science from CARAGA State University, is proud to have joined CMC right after graduation to be a part of the company’s environmental protection and reforestation initiatives which she considers a dream come true.
“Involving the communities in CMC’s greening programs is heart-warning, it is so satisfying to hear personal stories of how the company is helping the mining communities become financially independent,” shares Radaza.
“Pangpagawa po ng bahay and other expenses, we feel blessed because of CMC’s ECOcommunity,” Bernie Fruta proudly says of his earnings.
The CMC mine site is located in the municipality of Cagdianao, at the Northeastern side of the province of Dinagat Islands. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.