CEBU CITY (June 28, 2019) — The commitment of a local mining operator to restore areas it previously mined-out, further enhance their biodiversity and help build communities earned the company its second Gawad Tugas Award for responsible mining in the large-scale category.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) gave Solid Earth Development Corp. (SEDC) that mainly operates in San Fernando, Cebu the recognition for “having displayed and demonstrated innovation, ingenuity and investment in environment protection, conservation and management.”
The top DENR executives in Central Visayas handed the award to Eng’r. Samuel O. Tagsip, operations division manager of SEDC, during the 5th Gawad Tugas Award Nights at Parklane Hotel, this city, last night.
The honor came as a “three-peat” of sort after SEDC earned the same award in 2017 and its primary client, Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc. (TCPI), in 2018 also for responsible mining but in the mineral processing category.
In his acceptance message on behalf of SEDC, Tagsip said “it makes us feel great on being rewarded for the hard work of a mining company like us,” as he acknowledged the challenge the evaluators took.
He cited the landslide that happened in Cebu in 2018, a “very rare phenomenon where the whole mountain broke…, a very devastating incident that put the mining industry in the black spot.”
Eng’r. Efren B. Carido, OIC regional director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), in his message read by Mine Management Division OIC Engr. Raul A. Laput, cited SEDC and the awardees for having “cared more than enough for the very reason we are still here – the Environment.”
He acknowledged the “challenge of promoting responsible mining or quarrying, given the high demands of our country’s mineral resources for the construction of roads, bridges, commercial and residential buildings, among others.”
“The mining industry may be one of the most misunderstood industry and is rife with undesirable perception from the public, who lack better understanding of the role of the industry in the development of a nation,” Carido noted.
“Given the seemingly tattered image of this highly regulated mining industry,” he said, referring to the recent landside and issues raised against mining operations by the previous DENR secretary, “it is easy to criticize a company disturbing a land for mineral extraction.”
“The mistakes of a few mining companies, that marred the name of the mining industry, should not be construed that the whole industry is a rampant violator of the Mining and Environmental laws,” he added.
Carido then pointed out that such negativity “necessitates us to do a better job in communicating to the public the best practices of mining companies,” such as SEDC that has “gone beyond mere compliance of the laws and demonstrated sustainable environmental and social practices.”
“They actively seek innovative ways to improve their operations, enhance biodiversity, and alleviate poverty in their impact and neighboring communities in their years of operation,” he added.
Other than the manner it operates its quarries with primary regard to the environment, DENR cited SEDC for its generous Social Development Management Program (SDMP) that covers 13 barangays in San Fernando.
In part, the SDMP, complemented by SEDC’s Environmental Protection Enhancement Program (EPEP), converted over the past two years what used to be a mined-out area into a 7-hectare eco-park with a pocket forest in the uplands.
Now known as the SEDC-St. Augustine Eco-Pilgrimage Park, the company pursued the project in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Cebu through its Commission on Environmental Concerns and the San Agustin de Hippo Parish, shared SEDC SDMP lead person Mitzie Almira I. Carin.
It is complemented by a livelihood program for parishioners that developed the beneficiaries to become entrepreneurs with sustaining income-generating ventures, initially producing m’zuri beads, eco-candles and paper charcoal from recycled materials, added Carin, also human resources and administration division manager.
The eco-park initiative just started when SEDC earned in 2017 its first Gawad Tugas for Responsible Mining that, for its president Atty. Dennis B. Tenefrancia, “embodies the hardwork, discipline, commitment for excellence, perseverance and sacrifices we put in to fulfill our long-term commitments.”
“We at SEDC believe that business is more than just an economic endeavor. It is a pursuit for economic growth which must be conducted in harmony with nature and society. We cannot be too selﬁsh to think only of what we need today. We must look at what we can leave behind for our future generations,” he then said.
TCPI CEO Kazuhiko Ichizawa just assumed his role as company president when he received the 2018 Gawad Tugas for mineral processing category. The cement manufacturing facility was evaluated on his watch as plant manager and senior vice president for operations.