Turn over of the relief items at Baraza. Photo by Iskandar Sali.

The Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC), a subsidiary company of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), has already disbursed a total of P5.2 million-worth relief assistance from its 2020 Annual Social Development and Management Program (ASDMP) funds in support of the government’s Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to help Bataraza during the Luzon-wide quarantine due to the pandemic.

The amount was used to purchase 1,322 bags of rice and other relief items to benefit 10,773 households in Bataraza. The relief operations are still underway as Palawan transitions to general community quarantine (GCQ).

RTNMC community relations manager Bong dela Rosa said that RTNMC as a private sector is in full support of the government’s fight against this pandemic.

“Sa hirap nang pinagdadaanan ng ating mga kababayan dito sa Bataraza, dahil apektado rin tayo ng quarantine, kami sa RTN bilang pribadong sektor, ay nakikiisa sa ating gobyerno sa pagtulong sa pagsugpo nang pagkalat ng COVID-19. We have conducted relief operations across Bataraza to extend help to our kababayans during this health crisis,” Dela Rosa said.


RTNMC purchased bags of rice and other relief items to distribute in Bataraza. Photo courtesy of Iskandar Sali.

The Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) is a supposed mechanism used for the community development programs for its host and neighboring communities. But due to the recent state of calamity declared by the government, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has issued a recent memorandum “authorizing all regional offices to allow mining companies to realign their SDMP funds to aid the affected impact and non-impact communities in their respective localities during the ECQ period.”

In a story released by the Manila Bulletin, MGB said that “the re-aligned fund should be utilized on a staggered basis i.e. 12 to 17 percent every week”.

Furthermore, mining companies are mandated to submit weekly reports to MGB as part of the transparency and compliance. The companies’ initiatives will be published on MGB’s official website.

RTNMC is also set to donate funds to the Provincial Government of Palawan through its SDMP and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds.