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July 18, 2012

Mountains of Cordillera

Two weeks ago, I was invited to attend the 2nd Corporate Social Responsibility Workshop of the Chamber of Mines. Around 22 mining companies, represented by their Community Relations Officers, were present during the workshop. The venue was in the facilities of PHILEX Minig Corporation in Tuba, Benguet. We left Manila at around 5am and met up with the group in Baguio City near the Lakaoan airstrip. It took us around 4 hours to travel to Baguio City, my second time this year.

From Baguio City, the convoy traveled to the PHILEX Mining Corporation facility through the winding roads crawling over the Cordillera mountains. It was my first time to travel to these parts of Luzon. It was also my first time to visit a mining company.

After almost an hour of traveling over the mountain ridges, we reached the guest house of PHILEX where we had lunch and a quick rest. Security was tight inside the mining company's facility. We later found out that they strictly imposed a 9pm curfew within the compound. Inside the facility are schools and communities, mostly families of miners working for PHILEX. At around 3pm, we started with the session. I was to give the session on appreciating local health systems.

It was a huge opportunity for me to share to the COMRELs of the mining companies how the mining companies can actually focus their community intervention on improving local health systems and thereby improving health outcomes. I asked the group to draw a symbolic representation of their community's health reality to gauge how well they know their communities and at the same time peek at the focus and direction of their CSR programs.

We spent the night at the guest house and left for Manila at around 5 a.m. We traveled to Baguio City and was planning to have early breakfast at 50's diner but found out that they don't open until 7a.m. So, we found ourselves walking along Session Road looking for early fast food chains.

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