By SONNY B. VILLAR, BSA, MBA.
Batong Angono Aggregates Corporation (BAAC) in June 2008 entered into an Operating Agreement with Concrete Aggregates Corporation (CAC), a mining company affiliated with real estate conglomerate Ortigas Holdings’ Incorporated whereby BAAC was granted rights to operate CAC’s quarries in Angono, Rizal for fifteen (15) years subject to the conditions indicated in the Operating Agreement as well as CAC’s Mineral Production Sharing Agreements (MPSAs) and Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC). Batong Angono Aggregates Corporation is an associate company of Lafarge Holdings (Philippines) Inc. and Republic Cement Corporation.
Being part of the Lafarge Group, it is no coincidence that later on BAAC began to imbibe the global company`s corporate values on Safety & Health, Integrity, Respect and Excellence or the corporate philosophy known as the Lafarge Principles of Action. This idea ties up with their vision of becoming a leader in creating green and sustainable communities through environmentally responsible and community friendly operations.
Although businesses are established primarily for profit, there are those who also strived to strike a balance of being able to look after at the same time the welfare of the community where it is doing business. BAAC being guided by its corporate values tries hard to really make a difference especially to the neighborhood where it belongs. The Municipality of Angono in Rizal Province is where BAAC has been doing its quarrying operation of aggregate materials and also process it into usable varieties of construction materials in sizes such as G-1, ¾”, 3/8”, Manufactured Sand S-1 and S-3, Base and Sub- base Course, Armour Rocks etc.
In compliance to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7942 under Chapter XIV entitled Development of Mining Communities, Sciences and Mining Technology, BAAC honorably assumed the social obligations along with other commitments of CAC and slowly adopted it into the “Lafarge Way” of doing things. The assimilation is not without hardship as we have noted a high turnover of people from BAAC who seem to have lost in the challenge. Eventually someone did make it and turn around the implementation of social projects into much success and contributed greatly in making BAAC a recipient of a Titanium Achievement award for quarry operation in the 2009 Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Awards (PMIEA)
BAAC`s initial implementation of their Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) have made the company quite a household name in terms of community development support not only in their two main host Barangay`s but also in the whole town of Angono. This came into being because earlier during the program’s preparation, all other remaining Barangays aside from the host communities where also duly recognized as project beneficiaries and were considered neighboring communities. Therefore, in terms of scope the program reaches practically the whole town of Angono.
As a mining firm engaged in the production of aggregate or construction materials, the bulk of social projects implemented for the community were mostly infrastructure in nature. In the host communities of Barangay San Isidro and San Roque, the following were completed; concrete sidewalks and open drainage canal, river embankment rip-rapping, covered drain canal, flood interceptor, rehabilitation of a public park. The other neighboring communities are also beneficiaries of infrastructure projects which they themselves identified.
Aside from infrastructures, BAAC also implemented regular medical and dental missions, minor surgeries and assorted medicines distribution. Moreover, to further enhance the communities emergency response skills the following were procured, a fire truck and fire fighting suits and equipment, radio communication transceivers.
On educational assistance, the company accommodated a number of scholars from the community which were enrolled in all levels of learning. Lastly and quite remarkable is the support BAAC provides during the town festivities. Angono is well known as the Art Capital of the Philippines having produced the most number and distinguished visual artist in the likes of National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Jose Blanco and family , Nemiranda, Orville Tiamson, etc. It is also the birthplace of musical composer and National Artist awardee Maestro Lucio D. San Pedro known for his melodic piece “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan” and other compositions.
With these very active community involvements of BAAC, it is also notable that its allocation for Information Education Campaign (IEC) and promotion of advancements in mining and geosciences (DMTG) are also utilized to its best use. What better way to show the community their adherence to safety and environment friendly operations is through the conduct of plant tour in BAAC administrative and operational areas.
Surely flyers and handouts on BAAC operating policies are given to visitors and customers but nothing impresses more the common people than to be able for them to experience first- hand what BAAC mining operation entails, from Safety in the work areas, Quarry Area Preparations, Blasting, In house and Multi-government agencies Environmental and Safety Monitoring (MMT), Aggregate Products Testing/ Processing and Market Delivery. This kind of openness in BAAC management hastens the acceptability of mining in their community as a business entity who stays true to their vision and follows strictly what values it promotes.
The visible developments brought about by these projects are not only confined through the approved program but actually extend beyond what is obligated of BAAC. This is where core values come into view and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) takes its role.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Ondoy and of the similarly disastrous Habagat of 2012 where much of Metro Manila have been excessively inundated, the town of Angono as well as the rest of eastern Rizal was not spared of the ill effects of the typhoon. BAAC reported to MGB IV-A the significant damage incurred to their property and operations. Though dismayed at what had happened, the incident did not prevent BAAC from readily extending its assistance each time to the community. It had lent heavy equipments such as dozers and backhoes, dump trucks in the clearing up of debris from the road and waterways, distributed potable water, relief goods and organized medical outreach. As the weather improve, BAAC helped in the repair/ reconstruction of damaged river dikes in the municipality.
This year, the SDMP implementation has entered its 4th year in the second phase five (5) year program having been approved by MGB4- A in early CY 2010. Although the funding of the project/program/activities are still based on the 1% of Direct Mining and Milling Cost, the approved Annual SDMP budget for CY 2013 still stood at a substantial P3,840,310.00. BAAC is aware that it would adjust accordingly its SDMP budget based on Operating Cost as soon as it renews for the third time or by CY 2015.
Just recently BAAC`s mining operation has been featured in a two part series on a local television production aired over PTV-4 show “Lakbayin ang Magandang Pilipinas” which is a big boost for the company considering that the TV program host is the Honorable Mayor Jose Calderon of Angono and who has also served as a DENR undersecretary during the previous administration. The footage covers the tour of Angono residents inside BAAC plant site, with their sentiments and observations. As the tour progresses the program host himself clearly commends BAAC being a model business he surely likes to have in his town and encourages further the strengthening of linkages with the company.