Rain or shine, day or night, with aftershocks or brief moments of still, the three Operating Companies (OpCos) of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) joined hands in providing relief assistance to residents of Surigao City after it was hit by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake last February 10.

After the quake, the three OpCos—Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC), Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC), and Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC) immediately dispatched their respective Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) whose members are well-trained emergency responders, and Community Relations arm to the city.

The three OpCos have mining operations in the province of Surigao.

The tremor caused the collapse of buildings and houses, inaccessibility of roads and bridges, power outage for the first few days and shortage of water for both drinking and domestic use.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) of Surigao del Norte reported that the quake left eight casualties while hundreds were injured.

It also affected over two million people in quake-stricken Surigao City and the towns of Sison, Mainit, Malimono and San Francisco in Surigao del Norte.

According to PDRRMC officials, at least eleven towns were affected, experiencing power outages. It project that the cost of damage to property and infrastructure is at least ₱665 million.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also reported that at least 300 houses and several establishments in Surigao del Norte were damaged while seven bridges collapsed following the earthquake.

Thousands of residents living near coastal areas also evacuated their homes for fear of a tsunami that might follow the earthquake.

Highly-elevated evacuation centers immediately overflowed with thousands of traumatized residents.

Several aftershocks were felt the following days. These aftershocks also alarmed most of the city residents, resulting to some of them sleeping outside of their homes.

Due to the earthquake, classes in Surigao City were suspended as most of the school buildings were damaged by the earthquake.

The city was also placed under a state of calamity due to the strong earthquake.

The day after the quake, NAC-OpCos ERTs coordinated with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) to discuss the situation and offer help whenever needed.

The three mining firms’ ERTs provided help to the earthquake victims and assisted the local government in responding to the needs of its citizens.


The magnitude 6.7 earthquake did not only affect the infrastructures, it also damaged the electricity and water supply of Surigao City.

In order to respond to the water shortage experienced in Surigao City and to help the local government deals with this predicament, the OpCos ERT coordinated with the CDRRMC to address the problem.

The three mining firms: NAC-TMC, NAC-HMC and NAC-CMC deployed water trucks in different areas to provide water supply to residents.

The NAC-HMC deployed its Water Trucks 15-09 and 15-10 to Surigao City led by Environment Foreman Ronald Rivas.

The two water trucks deployed by NAC-HMC had been continuously operating in Surigao City to augment the lack of water supply.

Four members of the NAC-HMC ERT were deployed to the water trucks to enhance their capabilities to serve. These ERT members also served as the main crowd control force during the water supply distribution.

The routes and schedules of the water truck were given by the National Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the Incident Management Team (ICT).

Before distribution can proceed, representatives of the water trucks are required to report in the City Cultural Center where they will be given their respective routes and assignments.

To provide better water supply to Surigao City residents, the two water trucks were also accompanied by personnel from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The MMDA was equipped with machines that are able to process tap water into purified water for safe water consumption.

Two traffic personnel from the Office of the City Mayor were assigned as escorts to guide the two water trucks deployed by NAC-HMC in Barangay Luna and Barangay Sabang in Surigao City.

In Barangay Sabang 3 residents quickly lined up to the water truck carrying their empty water containers. Smiles were aplenty as water filled their once empty containers.

“Makaluto ug makaligo na jud mi (We can now cook and we can now take a bath),” said Ate Fe, a resident of Sabang 3.

She added that the NAC-HMC Water Truck was the first truck to provide water supply in their area.

“Sukad atong linog, kuman pa jud kami natagaan ug tubig, salamat sa inyoha sir ug sa Hinatuan (This is only the time where water was supplied to us since the earthquake, thank you sir and Hinatuan),” she added.

Led by Safety Section head, Engr. Rennan Y. Cuadrillero, NAC-TMC’s ERT composed of their first aid team and fire brigade were also immediately dispatched to distribute domestic water through its fire truck and two water lorries to barangays within the city.

Among the barangays supplied with water include: Brgy. Nueva, Taft, Navarro, Espina, Canlanipa, Borromeo, among others. Barangays supplied with water were immediately flocked by nearby residents affected by the water shortage.

Aside from water for domestic use, supply and sources of drinking water came up as another problem for the residents of Surigao City.

So, TMC mobilized the services of barangay Cagdianao’s stainless tank-water lorry, which was procured under the Social Development and Management Program of TMC for the barangay in 2016.

The NAC-CMC ERT, on the other hand, assisted HMC’s fire truck for water rationing to areas where supply was cut.


The three NAC OpCos did not only deploy their Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) but they also distributed relief goods composed of food and medicines to the residents affected by the earthquake.

NAC-HMC ERT personnel led by Dr. Oliver Dennis O. Lao, the Company Physician, packed relief goods in the NAC-SLO building.

They readied 1,175 packs of relief goods and 92 packs of medicines.

The relief goods were composed of rice, sardines, noodles, coffee, crackers, candles, matches and water bottles.

While the packs of medicines consisted of betadine solution, antibiotic ointment, sulfur ointment, paracetamol, pain relievers, mefenamic, band aid, gauze pad, cotton balls and bottled alcohol were also added for the distribution.

On the following morning, NAC-HMC and NAC-CMC ERT team members distributed the relief goods in the City Cultural Center, which was temporarily converted into the Command Post of the Incident Management Team (ICT).

The distribution was done through the assistance of personnel from the ICT, who provided the list of beneficiaries of the relief goods provided by NAC-HMC and NAC-CMC.

The beneficiaries were very happy to receive the relief goods.

Manang Alma expressed her thanks by saying, “Salamat sa NickelAsia, salamat sa Cagdianao, salamat sa Hinatuan ug salamat pud sa inyoha (Thank you NickelAsia, thank you Cagdianao, thank you Hinatuan).”

In the afternoon, NAC-HMC and NAC-CMC ERT continued the relief goods distribution in Baranagay Danao in Surigao City.

The barangay was picked as the recipient for the company’s relief goods in coordination with DSWD Caraga personnel.

The barangay is one of the far-flung areas of the city so it has not yet received any form of assistance whether from the government or any private organization.

This could be due to the fact that the barangay is located 19 kilometers away from the city proper.

Upon arrival in Barangay Danao, NAC-HMC and NAC-CMC ERT personnel were met by its Barangay Captain Alex G. Palen.

Palen thanked the team and the DSWD staff for coming to their place saying “Salamat sa pag abot ninyo sa among lugar, kamo pa jud ang pinaka una na maghatag ug relief goods sa amo (Thank you for coming to our area, you are the first ones to provide us with relief goods).”

Moreover, NAC-TMC extended relief operations not only in Surigao but also helped other municipalities affected by the calamity.

Despite the heavy rains and a collapsed bridge going to the municipality of Anao-aon and Malimono, NAC-TMC volunteers traversed on February 16 longer and tougher routes including a stream in barangay Poblacion in Anao-aon and barangay Cantapoy and Tinago in Malimono.

This was to deliver 650 sets of bottled drinking water and relief goods containing rice, canned goods, noodles, biscuits, and powdered drink to affected residents

NAC-TMC personnel were assisted by DSWD workers of the municipalities to identify residents affected by the quake.

On February 18, additional 150 sets of relief goods and drinking water were distributed to the residents of barangay Tagbayani in the municipality of Sison where considerable damage was also noted.

Five canvass sheets which proved useful in evacuation activities were also donated to the municipality of Sison.

NAC-TMC also teamed up with Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to supply 16,000 liters of purified drinking water through MMDA’s portable water purifier and TMC’s water lorry.

NAC-TMC first aiders also assisted in activities and installation of tents in the evacuation centers.


The company physicians of the three mining firms also provided free medicines and check-ups to the residents affected by the earthquake.

Dr. Oliver Dennis O. Lao, NAC-HMC’s Company Physician, assisted by Company Nurse Joarven Gigayon, provided free check-ups to the residents of Barangay Danao.

While NAC-HMC and NAC-CMC ERT personnel distributed free medicines to the residents.

One of the residents who was checked-up by Dr. Lao had a big gash on her forehead that she got when she fell.

Dr. Lao advised her that she should have it stitched or else it will develop into a big scar.

The doctor also advised the injured individuals on what to do in case their health or status does not improve.

Moreover, NAC-TMC also provided medicines and medical supplies to the affected residents to treat common illnesses such as colds, fever, diarrhea, cough and stomach ache.

Antibiotics, pain relievers and first aid items were also donated as additional medical supplies.

TMC also made available the services of its site ambulance to facilitate the transport of a vehicular accident victim to a bigger hospital in Tagum City.

TMC nurse Charlo Galing and first aider Allan Montejo escorted Romel Tano, 16, who was on his way to his family when the earthquake caused a rock to fall upon him.


Although the NAC OpCos ERT personnel already returned to their various works and tasks in the mine site, they are still on call and ready to go once their assistance will be needed by Surigao City.

“NAC-HMC ERT members were on call and in standby if ever their assistance will be needed,” said Dr. Lao.

Local government units and affected residents expressed their gratitude for the help extended to them.

Engr. Lalo Gesta thanked TMC for the assistance it provided to the residents.

“Kami magpasalamat sa TMC, Taganito Mining Corporation, na jaon kamo nag-suporta mismo sa bayay-bayay diri. Salamat sa ijo pag-suporta. Amo jaon na isa kami na na-appreciate ang ijo tabang. Kay kami bisan tood ini ang sitwasyon, nagkinahanglan gihapon kami ng mga hinabang naglabi sa mga tubig…kuman na adlaw, kahapon, na jaon may tubig nag-agas sa gripo pero lubog kay naglabi continuous ang raining kahapon. Ya may tood bagyo pero ang gawas ng tubig kuman naglabi sa mga bata na kinahanglan ng tubig na limpyo gajud... In behalf sa mga Anao-aong lumadnon na jari diri, salamat sa ijo tabang,” he said.

Adriana Gader said: “Magpasalamat ako sa tmc nga nanhatag nan mga rasyon tapos marajaw ang ila pagserbisyo dili sila pareho sa iban na tagpili ra.”

Reynaldo Valiente also thanked TMC for the relief goods he received from the company.

“Daghang salamat sa taganito mining corporation sa ijo mga donasyon na ijo taghatag diri sa san Francisco, anao-aon. Salamat karajaw sa kinasing-kasing na nakadawat kami sa ijo tulong diri sa amo. Daghang salamat!” he said.

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