1,407 villagers in Davao City benefit from free health services

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KORONADAL CITY, Philippines – Over a thousand impoverished residents have benefited from a series of medical and dental missions at three inland barangays in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur over the past three weeks.

Kiblawan Mayor Joel Calma said on Saturday that the outreach activities in Barangays Bulolsalo, Tacub and Kimlawis were a joint initiative of their local government unit, Sagittarius Mines Incorporated, popularly known as SMI, and the National Commission on the indigenous peoples of the region 11.

He told reporters that 1,407 indigenous and settler family members in the three barangays had benefited from medical and dental services funded by a 340,000 peso grant from the SMI under the government’s corporate social responsibility strategy. company.

“We are grateful to SMI and NCIP-11 for these medical and dental missions to Bulolsalo, Tacub and Kimlawis,” Calma said.

The hinterland municipality of Kiblawan, home to Blaan communities, is one of four towns where SMI is to operate once it begins copper mining in Tampakan, south Cotabato, along with permission from the national government.

Mining experts from the central office of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and overseas had put their estimate of copper deposits at Tampakan at no less than US$200 billion.

Tampakan is an ancestral domain known to the Blaans ethnic groups, who have long affirmed their collective desire to have the copper deposits of the commune exploited for their benefit.

SMI has yet to operate since its inception in the 1990s, but has already spent hundreds of millions of funds on community projects in Tampakan, Kiblawan and towns from Malungon to Sarangani and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.

Calma said NCIP-11 and SMI have also strengthened their indigenous community structures through ongoing interventions, including workshops for local tribal leaders.

Calma said a number of his constituents had also graduated from college in recent years through a mining company scholarship program.

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