Photo Caption: Small-scale miner in Itogon at work.

Photo by Primo Agatep/ ABN


Cebuana Lhuillier Miners Protect: A milestone in Philippine insurance system


Small scale mining is big business yet it’s risky. Thousands of individuals are involved in small scale mineral extraction across the country with a million relying on income generated by the industry. In the province of Benguet, vegetable and mining industries are the main drivers of its economic growth, not to be left out local pocket miners who belong to the so-called informal sector. Decades, officials of Benguet Federation of SmallScale Miners, Inc. (BFSSM) have been looking for local insurance companies to have their group/members covered but to no avail; the latter pointed the “risky factor” involved.

In fact, a former official of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) pressed the government to put up an insurance system for pocket miners-small-scale miners protection fund, to date nothing
in site. But the long wait is over, in a telephone interview, Norberto Cobaldes, president of BFSSM
disclosed that in recent weeks, dozens of their members have applied for CL Miners Protect insurance policy, established by Cebuana Lhuillier (CL)- believed to be the first of its kind in the world ,especially designed for miners.

“We should give credence to Cebuana Lhuillier for coming up an insurance program for miners, and recognizing the efforts and welfare of pocket miners,” said Cobaldes, adding that “not only a way of doing business it’s an investment… a win-win solution for both CL and pocket miners.” To demonstrate leadership by example, Cobaldes revealed that officials of the BFSSM first acquired a group policy. Cobaldes said, their move hopefully would encourage SSM leaders and their members to apply and be insured.

“In order that they (local ssm) believe, we officers of the federation as well as members of the Board have patronized (CL Miners Protect),” Cobaldes said in Ilocano. “It’s for everybody’s benefit,” he
stressed. In fact, federation officials revealed that Cobaldes has shared some of his personal savings to cover almost half of the amount of their group’s premium Actually,in a telephone interview, Alfred Bugnosen, BFSSM executive vice president who first revealed to this writer the action taken by the federation for such insurance coverage.

Bugnosen added that it was their federation which “challenged” Cebuana Lhuillier if they could come up coverage policy for pocket miners during a national ssm summit which said company (CL) was among the sponsors. As of press time, dozens of local pocket miners front different ssm associations belong to BFSSM have enrolled in the said insurance policy. Among them are three
women who are officials of the federation to include Angie Sugalan, who also president of the Sugalan Clan small-scale mining association in Tuba, Benguet, who also enrolled more than a dozen of their pocket miners.

“We enrolled our pocket miners in order that they are supported especially during difficult times,” Angie (Sugalan) said in Ilocano. Melchor Dayag, a former president of Dalisay Camote SSSM in Itogon acknowledged the efforts of the current BFSSM officials especially such insurance coverage program. “Mayat dayta, pagsayaatan amin ti minero ken iti pamilya da,” said Dayag. Some features of the insurance which eligible age range from 18 years old to 60 years old , a copy of which was
obtained from BFSSM’S vice president Bugnosen,during the company’s product presentation include death benefit, accident or sickness emergency cash assistance, accidental dismemberment and/ or disablement, fire cash assistance designed for miners. The CL Miners Protect is underwritten by Stronghold Insurance and Pioneer Insurance.

Primo Agatep/ ABN

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