By Dennis Legaspi
The smell of new pads of paper and the feel of new pencils can bring excitement and enthusiasm to any young pupil. Thus, employees of a mining company, and its subsidiaries, pooled together personal resources to gift some 3000 students of Malimono, Surigao del Norte with “lapis at papel”.
The activity is part of the mining company’s yearly Personal Social Responsibility (PSR) program wherein Nickel Asia Corporation’s employees take it as their civic duty to contribute to the betterment of the communities in their own personal capacity.
It began “as a simple invitation or call to action that got a resounding response,” says Lira Poralan, NAC’s Communication Manager, in explaining how the employee-led activity started. Now on its second year, the program receives contributions from the company drivers, security guards, office personnel, the corporation’s Chairman and CEO, and their president.
“PSR is a pretty new concept, in the country. In our case, it started in the Head Office where employees don’t get to do community work like in the mine sites. So we decided the employees in the HO should also act on their civic duty to reach out and give to the communities”, Poralan explained to Manila Bulletin.
The company downloads millions of pesos for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and the social development management program (SDMP) which is mandated by law. The PSR does not source its resources from any of these funds. It is purely employee-driven.
Mr. Ador Cabauatan, Admin group head of Cagdianao Mining Corp (CMC), said that Malimono a 5th class municipality was chosen as beneficiary this year precisely because it does not directly benefit from the CSR and SDMP programs. Malimono is a coastal town in Surigao del Norte outside the mining communities of NAC. CMC, on the other hand, is located in Dinagat Islands.
Last year, the employees contributed to give 2 pads of papers and 3 pencils to all 900 elementary students of all the 4 elementary schools in Dinapigue in Isabela.
This year, they brought joy to some 3000 students from 16 schools in Malimono in its 14 barangays – gifting each student 2 pads of paper and 2 pencils. Some kindergarten kids even received coloring books, crayons and sharpeners.
“It was a pleasant surprise. The children were very happy, the teachers were almost emotional. NAC employees went to all of our elementary schools even in those farthest areas accessible only by bangka and habal-habal. We are all very thankful to NAC employees for the very sweet gesture,” says Dr. Alicia Amalia, District Supervisor, DepEd Malimono.
The ‘lapis at papel’ contributions were gathered from NAC employees in its mining operations in CARAGA Region and Dinagat Islands – Cagdianao Mining, Hinatuan Mining, and Taganito Mining; also in Rio Tuba in Palawan – Rio Tuba Nickel Mining; in Isabela – Dinapigue Mining; as well as employees of Cordillera Explorations and Emerging Powers Inc. all subsidiaries of NAC.
“The NAC PSR in Malimono showed the communities that people from the mining companies of NAC are one with us and are very much part of the very society we live in,” says Jay Ronald L. Becina, Principal at Malimono Central School.
The organizers were surprised by the interest PSR generated in their corporation in just one year. The employees plan to do this every year for as long as their colleagues continue to support the effort. PSR can be a big thing although it has not yet gained much notice in the corporate sector.
The ethical framework of social responsibility can catalyze big upheavals in society, who knows what comes out of the “lapis at papel” in the hands of those children.