To clarify issues and dispel speculations against COVID 19 vaccine, Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) initiated a virtual conference for its employees from all its subsidiaries across the country.

Among those who joined the virtual conference include employees from Cagdianao Mining Corporation (CMC) in Dinagat Islands; Cordillera Exploration from Ilocos Sur; Dinapigue Mining Corporation (DMC) in Isabela; Emerging Powers from Subic; Hinatuan Mining Corporation (HMC) and Taganito Mining Corporation (TMC) from Surigao del Norte; and Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) in Palawan.

No less than former Health Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, who heads the Philippine Red Cross Molecular Laboratories, answered various questions from NAC employees.

This move came after the Philippine government rolled out its vaccination program across the country.

During the virtual conference, Dr. Ubial emphasized the need to be vaccinated to combat the COVID-19 virus.

She also allayed fears that the vaccine could pose side effects saying that “the best vaccine is the one in your arm.”

The company initiated the virtual conference after results from its own internal surveys indicated that 60 percent of Filipinos do not want to be vaccinated because of possible side effects.

NAC Vice President for Human Resources Gerardo B. Ongkingco expressed belief that Dr. Ubial’s detailed explanation resonated with all NAC employees and convinced them that it is important to be vaccinated.

Ongkingco explained that some people are skeptical to be vaccinated because of the misinformation spreading on the net.

“The pandemic has basically pushed many of us to a corner and with the internet as constant companion, misinformation can spread like wildfire and there is bound to be skepticism,” he said.

And because of this, Ongkingco added, that an information campaign should be initiated by the company to help its employees understand the importance of having a vaccine.

“We at NAC believe that an information campaign on something so important like the vaccine can impact the lives of our employees and the residents in our mining communities,” said Ongkingco.

He added that through the NAC initiated virtual conference, Dr. Ubial cascaded authentic information to all its employees.

“Dr. Ubial helps us cascade authentic information to all our employees as she shares credible, digestible and evidence-based information that our people actually understand and can relate to,” said Ongkingco.

Darien Bas, Social Media and Communications Specialist at DMC, said misinformation is a big issue that needs to be addressed.

“The fight is not just against the virus but against these misinformation that can sow fear and confusion among the employees and the people in the communities,” said Bas.

Bas added: “NAC acknowledges the fact that to be vaccinated is our personal choice but through this information campaign, the company ensures everyone has solid scientific data to base our choices on and not on fear and lack of information.”

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has allowed mining companies to re-align their social development funds to help the government purchase additional Covid-19 vaccines through the initiatives of the mining industry.

With a green light from the MGB, NAC immediately responded to the challenges of COVID19, by expending an accumulated P50M from its 2020 social development funds during the early months of the pandemic.

In addition, a separate budget of P18M was turned over to the Philippine Red Cross to build a molecular testing laboratory in Surigao City to support the province’s efforts for early detection of COVID-19 cases.

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