By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 6, 2017 - 12:00am
Semirara Island, Antique, Philippines — Semirara Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) is investing P320 million in its community and environmental stewardship projects that will spur economic activity in the location of the country’s largest coal mine.
The budget is 75 percent higher than last year’s P186 million as the company plans to build more community infrastructure and livelihood facilities, SMPC president and chief operating officer Victor Consunji said.
DMCI Holdings Inc. executive vice president and CFO Herbert Consunji said most of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects of its subsidiary Semirara is focused on post mining activities.
Semirara has planned about P200 million for the construction of community and livelihood facilities such as evacuation centers, community park, sea port, river walk and sports facilities.
Another P65 million will be spent on environmental stewardship projects, which include the establishment of a Semirara Biodiversity Center and progressive inland and mangrove area reforestation. The rest of the CSR budget will be used to fund community nutrition initiatives in Calaca, Batangas.
So far, the company has spent P81.46 million in these projects in the first half.
Majority of the expenditures or about P42.5 million went to the construction of community infrastructure. This includes 14 completed and ongoing barangay evacuation sheds, sports facilities, roads and bridges, among others.
The rest of the amount was spent on health, safety and environment stewardship programs including the procurement of medicines, sponsorship of community health seminars, inland and mangrove reforestation, biodiversity conservation, among others.
SMPC chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said the company tries to create CSR that’s sustainable.
“What we want is to jumpstart it and then it will make money for the community,” “We will continue to do what is significant and necessary,” Consunji said.
In April 1997, DMCI Holdings acquired a 40 percent interest in SCC’s common shares, including P2.5 billion of its outstanding loans.
According to the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, poverty incidence in Barangay Semirara was 5.79 percent in 2015 which is significantly lower than the national average of 21.6 percent during the same year.
Another indication of the improving local economy is the number of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Semirara Island. From 155 registered businesses in 2013, the figure jumped 37 percent to 213 as of 2016.