An Experiential Conversion

Experience becomes valuable, not when it leaves a precious lesson to learn from, but more importantly, when it brings about conversion in every heart.

Our visit to Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) on October 6 and 7 was an eye-opener. At first, most of us thought that it was like any of the educational tours we previously had – a simple actual encounter on the good practices of our host on the area of our interest – livelihood program in community development setting. True enough, we were exposed to the different programs and projects which TMC had been implementing over the years, in terms of economic development support for the communities around its area of operation. For an earning company like TMC, we thought that it was plain and simple easy to fulfill its corporate social responsibility, especially that it is required and mandated by law.

As we go along with our tour, there are salient observation points which eventually led a change on our perception, understanding, and stand on the mining issue in the country:

  • TMC workers are passionate. Anyone who believes in what he does, would exhibit a natural tendency towards giving out the best of what the job deserves. Most often too, a job wouldn’t turn out to be just a responsibility to be fulfilled but a passion and mission to be lived and nurtured. This is what we saw in most of the staff we encountered during our visit, they seem to have cultivated a corporate culture of not to be content with the minimum, for always, there would be better ways of doing things entrusted to their care.
  • TMC programs go beyond compliance. Any company could simply settle with what is required by law, and they could already be certified compliant by certain government regulating agencies. But, everything we were shown and exposed to during our visit, the assigned staff would always mention going beyond compliance – from the taxes remitted, to budget for community development, social safety and protection, environmental programs, among others. The environmental protection and restoration programs we have seen for example is not only aimed at bringing back what was lost during the mining process, but also bringing new and more diverse species into a mining-affected ecosystem, which makes the environment more habitable for the future generation.
  • TMC showcases the “possible”. In an industry where most people believe that a responsible and sustainable way of doing mining is far from possible and real, TMC is showing a concrete model that such is workable and possible, only when the corporate heart and culture to make these happen is alive and lived. It truly takes courage and constant upholding of communal good over personal gain, to push one to work for what is good for the current and future generations.
  • TMC exhibits humility. Despite the commendable good practices it has been doing so far, and citations and awards it received from reputable awarding bodies and institutions, TMC maintains that it still has something more to learn, that what it is currently doing can still be subject to continuous improvement, always in the view of making things better for its business operation and for the communities it serves. TMC never claims that what it has and what it is presently doing is already the best, which is a fertile ground for an open discussion on ways and means towards continuous upholding of the common good.

For us at VFMPC, who are working and doing mission from our religious background and perspective over the past years, what we’ve been holding on, as we see it, is similar to what TMC upholds and practices – social responsibility, environmental protection, and people empowerment. We can say that we both have the same passion in fighting for what we believe in. Moments were there in the past when we would join protests and signature campaigns against the operation of any mining company in the country, thinking that they bring nothing but destruction to our environment.

Being exposed to TMC’s operation and corporate social responsibility is both an eye-opener and an experiential conversion. Our negative impression of the Mining Industry had turned the other way around, for real enough, what we always see in the news and social media platforms, doesn’t completely bring the real picture of what mining really is. There is a danger too in generalization, for what most companies do, may not necessarily be done by the rest as well. It is not impossible to find a good one in a basket of rotten tomatoes. What we hope and pray is for the good ones to impact and build an efficient and workable model for others to emulate and replicate.

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