Tuba, Benguet –– Philex Mining Corp. held on July 13-14, 2016 the 3rd Pusong Philex Scholars’ Congress in two different venues. The first day was held in the Conference Hall of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Baguio City. A quick training on news-writing was conducted and facilitated by the officers and members the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club. It was highlighted by a feature and news-writing contest among the participants-scholars.
This year’s theme was “Quality Education through Responsible Mining,” giving tribute to the seventeen college scholars who graduated under the Pusong Philex scholarship program of the company. Each was given a plaque of recognition for finishing a course of their choice, in addition to a graduation allowance as their incentive.
Under the company program which is administered and run by the Community Relations Department, the college scholarship package includes full matriculation and miscellaneous fees, provision for book allowance, and monthly allowance for other expenses.
“The most important legacy the company gives to the people in its communities is education,” said Manuel Agacaoili, Resident Manager of Philex Padcal Operations, in his welcome message to the graduates, their parents and to the numerous guests who graced the jampacked hall. “Moreover, the company is one with the country’s initiatives in nation building, through the social, environment, and safety programs it implements,” he added.
Since the start of the college scholarship program in 2002, the company saw a total of 303 scholars who were successful in pursuing their dreams to be educated on a higher plane with some already gainfully employed in the company. They already were either certified public accountants, registered nurses, teachers, medical technologists, police, community organizers, and others who were spread to work not only in the country but overseas.
Gracing the occasion is newly elected Tuba Municipal Mayor, Ignacio Rivera, a long-running and twelve-term local executive of Camp 3 barangay before he was elected as mayor and himself a resident and former employee of Philex Padcal mining operations here, shares all the trials and triumphs that tested his leadership and personality.
Mayor Rivera challenged the scholars in saying: “love your chosen profession, live everyday with a purpose, do not settle for less, aim for the greater or for the best, and everything must be lifted to God,” as he rallied the participants.
The college scholarship program aims to gather all the young people from the host and neighboring communities of Philex’s Padcal Operations to benefit from the company’s social responsibility initiatives. From this, the Philex and Outlying Youth Movers Society (POYMS) composed of students, out-of-school youth and young professionals from Philex inside camp and its outlying sitios was organized with the goal to be the warriors and advocates of responsible mining.
Some celebrated activities of the POYMS aimed to benefit and develop the youth were the conduct of various Youth Development Camps, Personal Leadership Development (PLD), Friendship Hike, Dalupirip Fashion Show, Cultural Dance Showdown and Outreach Programs in different sitios of Philex’s host and neighboring communities in partnership with different private and government groups.
Current Benguet Provincial Board Member and former Tuba Mayor, Florencio Bentrez, advised the scholars “to always stay humble, remember your foundation that will mold your integrity and maturity.” He added: “as professionals do not just be intelligent but learn to acquire wisdom which will lead you to higher success.”
In his keynote address, third-term Board Member of Benguet Province and a bona fide resident of Barangay Ampucao, lawyer Johnny Waguis said: “Just dream and work to achieve that dream!” He pointed out tips to success like “respect for parents,” “help your siblings,” “keep moving forward to achieve your dreams in life,” and “serve the communities,” tips and secrets that made him to succeed in his profession.
Adam Ventura, also a native of Barangay Camp 3 in this municipality here, representing Benguet Provincial Governor Cresencio Pacalso, gave his salutation to everyone and congratulated all the scholars. He was also very thankful for the worthy scholarship programs of Philex Mining Corp. that is currently being implemented it is a great help because the provincial government has limited slots and funding for such programs to all the applicants.
Former scholars and now currently employed in the company also attended the event to share their testimonial messages and inspire the current scholars.
Jenilyn Empil, a medical technologist by profession, now employed with the company’s Medical Department, and product of Philex Scholarship Program stated that “you and me should consider Philex as our parent who cares for us so that we should support any program that the company brings to us including its continuous responsible mining operations in our area.”
A person with disability himself, Pistola Palubos, showed his perseverance, dedication and determination in continuing his second course, Bachelor of Laws. He said that “challenges, weaknesses and disabilities must not a hindrance in achieving our dreams and that in any achievement we got, we should always put our feet on the ground.” “Humility counts,” he said in parting.
Certified Public Accountant Ms. Marcilyn Paquitol, impressed the scholars on her experience despite his two year scholarship grant, she is still very grateful to PMC for giving opportunities on education as such. From her failures she did learn great lessons that strengthened her to achieve her dream. She claims that she and her community are so blessed having a responsible mining industry giving social and human development programs. She challenged the scholars to give importance and prioritize their studies.
Lastly, a Registered Nurse, Mr. Jerry Cayamdas talked on how he surmounted the trials during his college days. He narrated that he considered himself with much responsibilities because of his scholarship. He also reminded the parents to take the full accountability on the education of their children, PMC is here to assist our needs not to provide all.