One of the women in RTNMC community empowered by programs implemented by the company. /RTN photo

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) recognized Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) as a gender-sensitive mining company in the region for 2021, aiming to strengthen values formation in the Bataraza community to empower locals with the rights of women.

Venice Teresa Guian, community relations and Social Development Management Program (SDMP) supervisor, said MGB cited the effort of the mining company to ensure the involvement of women in climate change and COVID-19 responses.

She added that the effort is reflected in the quarterly reports submitted by RTNMC to MGB, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It is the first time that RTNMC was recognized as a gender-sensitive mining company during the awarding on March 31.

“I think through SDMP, nandon ‘yong mga programa na nagbibigyang konsiderasyon ang mga kababaihan. Since nagsimula kami sa SDMP, talagang marami na kami na-organize na kababaihan to handle livelihood programs. Na-i-empower na rin sila, may capacity-building kaming mga na-conduct na before. Tuloy-tuloy din ‘yong although iba-iba ang community targets,” Guian said.

The participation of women in the planning of projects and programs also promotes gender equality in a workplace like mining, which is known as a men-dominated industry. Guian said RTNMC takes pride with 23 percent women population in RTNMC, some of whom are holding executive positions.

“Alam naman natin na kapag mining ay men dominated pero dito ay unti-unting tumataas na ang rates ng kababaihan sa minahan,” she said.

Guian said that the mining company also wants to strengthen the values formation at the community level, as RTNMC believes that awareness should start at the grassroots.

The company also wants to help the community realize that women and wives are not only for domestic roles but also for leadership in the community.

She said there are good projects in the community which failed to succeed as women in the community need to prioritize taking care of their children as roles that are dictated to them by society.

“Hopefully ma-push namin ang programs sa mga community, values formation. Target namin doon ay magbago ang pananaw ng mga kalalakihan, na ang mga misis nila ay hindi lang pambahay, kung ano ‘yong karapatan ng mga kababaihan. Tingin namin hindi siya masyadong (nabibigyan pansin). We are hoping na through values formation ay maintindihan nila na sa panahon ngayon, hindi na lang mga misis ang mga nasa gawain (pambahay),” Guian explained.

“Iyon ang dapat namin ma-combat na hindi lang si mister ang dapat nagtatrabaho. Paano mababalanse sa mag-asawa, hopefully ma-push namin this year,” she added.

Aside from allocating a day for the annual celebration of the women’s month, RTNMC also gives a two-day ‘ladies tour’ as a free day for relaxation and team-building every month of August. Guian said it is one of the unique programs implemented by the RTNMC to assist the wellness of women employees.

She mentioned that the company is working on the continuity of the program particularly in the community and widening its coverage. She also expressed hopes for the improvement of level of gender sensitivity awareness and equality among locals.

“Malaking impact sa amin ‘yon kasi it implies na ang mga programa na ginagawa namin ay naka-capture namin ‘yong issues and concerns ng kababaihan – gender issues. Nare-recognize kami na ang isang men-dominated company ay may pagpapahalaga sa kababaihan. Nawawala ‘yong stigma na ang mga kababaihan ay pang-office lang. May mga work kami na mga panlalaki na nagagampanan na ng mga kababaihan sa mining,” she said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.