BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – To ensure the sustainability of the capacity development activities of planetGOLD Philippines Project for the miners in Sagada, Mt. Province, a ceremonial signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Artisanal Gold Council (AGC) Philippines and Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) was held on 20 July 2023 in Bontoc, Mt. Province.
Present in the MOU signing event were representatives from MPSPC, AGC Philippines, and Northern Sagada Barangays Small-Scale Mining Association, Incorporated (NSBSSMAI). Representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd) Bauko and Special Education (SpEd) Mt. Province were also present for a simultaneous MOA signing event.
To provide an overview of the activity, MPSPC Director for Extension Dr. Joy Fraine M. Ngodcho ran through the program of the event. She was followed by Sarah Marie Loy-od who gave an intermission number.
Welcoming the attendees of the event, MPSPC Vice President for Research Development and Extension Dr. Epiphania B. Magwilang emphasized the value of partnerships for the betterment of those who are part of academia and the community: “Together, we shall engage in a wide range of capacity-building and consultancy activities, focusing on the professional development of our teachers and the holistic development of our partner small-scale miners as individuals and as an organization. Our joint commitment is a testament to the belief that through partnerships and collaboration, we can achieve far more than we could ever accomplish alone.”
She was followed by MPSPC President Dr. Edgar C. Cue, who expressed their institution’s pledge towards academic excellence and responsible development of communities particularly in Mt. Province: “This MOA signing today is a testament of our commitment as a higher education institution. This is MPSPC’s role in shaping the future of Mt. Province and beyond, not only as a center of academic excellence but also as engines of social progress and development. As we have envisioned to transform lives and foster responsible development, it is the College’s commitment to extend higher education services beyond our classrooms by providing expertise, sharing resources, and assisting in knowledge transfer through instruction, research, and innovation.”
Also in attendance was AGC’s Abigail Ocate, planetGOLD Philippines Project National Project Manager, , who recognized the essence of solidifyingpartnerships with the academic community towards the formalized development of small-scale gold mining communities: “This partnership goes beyond the formal terms of this MOU. It is an acknowledgment of the unique and crucial contributions that the academe can make to the advancement of our goals. It is a commitment to fostering responsible development, environmental protection, and the welfare of our fellow Filipinos in the ASGM sector. Our collective efforts will not only transform the lives of those directly involved in small-scale mining but will also have a positive ripple effect on their families and their communities as a whole.”
Meanwhile, NSBSSMAI President Mathew Malicdan expressed their gratitude and commitment for the support that their association will receive: “We commit to sustain the project and the assistance given to us by abiding the existing laws of the mining industry and setting a good model to our fellow small-scale miners here in the Philippines.”
He was later joined by his fellow officers of NSBSSMAI for a short musical performance.
The ceremony ended with an inspirational message from Mt. Province Congressman Maximo Y. Dalog Jr., who was represented by Atty. Cyphrine Y. Dalog. In his speech, he expressed his support for the extension initiatives of MPSPC, which help build the capacity of communities in the province: “We hope that this collaboration will be an avenue for the college to continue engaging in the improvement of the quality of life of our students and constituents, especially in areas specifically covered by today’s activity.”
“As your representative in Congress, please know that we will always be of constant support especially in the enhancement of the college’s capability to provide excellent and world class extension services.” Dalog concluded.
The signing of the MOU between AGC and MPSPC
Training Needs Assessment in Barangay Fidelisan, Sagada, Mountain Province
On 9 September 2023, a Training Needs Assessment (TNA) activity was conducted in Barangay Fidelisan, Sagada, Mountain Province. The TNA aimed to revisit and update the 2021 TNA Report of the planetGOLD Philippines Project, and ensure that the training needs of the organization are current, relevant, and aligned with the evolving capacity development requirements of the NSBSSMAI.
NSBSSMAI President Mathew Malicdan welcomed the participants and representatives from MPSPC. He shared how thankful NSBSSMAI is with the partnership and that they look forward to the assistance that will be provided to them by the partners.
Meanwhile, MPSPC Director for Extension Services Dr. Joy Fraine Ngodcho gave an overview of the partnership between MPSPC, AGC Philippines–through the planetGOLD Philippines Project–and NSBSSMAI. She also opened up the possibility of connecting the association to other government agencies who might be interested in helping them.
She was followed by representatives from MPSPC who made presentations about the programs offered by the institution. Members of the association later identified the topics that they want to learn through the help of MPSPC:
- Leadership Skills Training;
- Disaster Risk Reduction, Support Mobilization and Partnership;
- Primary Health Care;
- Financial Management; and
- Presentation Software (ex. Microsoft PowerPoint)
A comprehensive training plan was developed following this session to address identified needs. The first capacity building activity will be focused on Leadership and Organizational Management Training and will be conducted in October 2023.
The planetGOLD Philippines Project is funded by the Global Environment Facility, implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and executed by the Artisanal Gold Council.
For more updates about the activities of planetGOLD Philippines: