An employee at Taganito Mining in Claver, Surigao del Norte, studies the survey form about vaccination just before Dr. Ubial’s address to all NAC employees across the country.

As the Philippine government rolls out its vaccination program across the country, Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) has stepped up to connect employees from all its subsidiaries across the country in a virtual conference that directly tackles all issues about the vaccines against COVID 19. 

Former Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, who heads the Philippine Red Cross Molecular Laboratories, on Friday, addressed all issues, contentious and otherwise, to answer varied questions from NAC employees from Cagdianao Mining in Dinagat Islands; Cordillera Exploration from Ilocos Sur; Dinapigue Mining in Isabela; Emerging Powers from Subic; Hinatuan Mining and Taganito Mining from Surigao del Norte; and Rio Tuba Mining in Palawan.

Employees from all of NAC subsidiaries across the country listen to a presentation by Dr. Ubial of the Philippine Red Cross regarding the vaccines for Covid 19.

NAC is aware that according to recent reports, and from its own internal surveys, 60% of Filipinos do not want to be vaccinated.

But Dr. Ubial’s statement that “the best vaccine is the one in your arm” resonated with all NAC employees and the company hopes that after two hours of detailed discussion with Dr. Ubial, this number will improve.

“The pandemic has basically pushed many of us to a corner and with the internet as constant companion, misinformation can spread like wildfire and there is bound to be skepticism. We at NAC believe that an information campaign on something so important like the vaccine can impact the lives of our employees and the residents in our mining communities,” explains Gerardo B. Ongkingco, NAC VP for Human Resources.

“Dr. Ubial helps us cascade authentic information to all our employees as she shares credible, digestible and evidence-based information that our people actually understand and can relate to,” says Ongkingco.

Darien Bas, Social Media and Communications Specialist at Dinapigue Mining Corp. (DMC), says misinformation is a big issue and that the fight is not just against the virus but against these misinformation that can sow fear and confusion among the employees and the people in the communities.

“NAC acknowledges the fact that to be vaccinated is our personal choice but through this information campaign, the company ensures everyone has solid scientific data to base our choices on and not on fear and lack of information,” Bas stresses.

According to news reports, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has allowed mining companies to re-align their social development funds to help the government purchase additional Covid-19 vaccines through the initiatives of the mining industry.

NAC is among the first to respond to the challenges of COVID19, by expending an accumulated P50M from its 2020 social development funds during the early months of the pandemic.  A separate budget of P18M was turned over to the Philippine Red Cross to build a molecular testing laboratory in Surigao City to support the province’s efforts for early detection of COVID-19 cases.

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