Empowered women are changing the game


Women labor force in the Cordillera’s mining industry had significantly increased in recent years, occupying key managerial positions and skilled type of jobs, official of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGBCordillera) and junior middle managers of private mining companies based in Benguet claimed. With greater gender equality, Fay Apil, regional director of MGB-CAR, saw
innovation in their chosen field of careers.

To date, the MGB official reported that there six large mining companies operating in the region, and Philex Mines has the most number of women workers with 196 followed by Lepanto Mines with 175 , Benguet Corp 71 while Itogon Suyoc Resources Inc. (ISRI) 70. Apil, who led other MGB
officials and representatives from private mining companies in marking women’s month through a press forum held on Wednesday (March 29), attributed the increment number of women enrolled and graduates of mining engineering courses , and have set high standards in the traditionally male dominated industry.

She noted the shift that started in the 80’s, and it has improved to the 90’s. Although there have been some successes, however, observers said still a big challenge to encourage more women to join the mining industry- one of the main driver of Philippine economy which is labor intensive and needed huge capital. Engineer Alaine Mildred Villegas, chief metallurgist of Lepanto Mines, a board top notcher for her part, said the “rising competition” among women in the engineering field
spelled the difference.

Villegas added that out of the 59 managerial positions in Lepanto, 14 are occupied by women. Engr. Lyza Dim Apioten and Engr. Abegail Pis-oy, chiefs of mining and electrical engineering of ISRI, respectively, shared that their company company offers equal opportunities to women. “It’s tough but its important to explain yourself.. communication is a key,” said Apioten when asked about her experienced working along with their male counterparts. Pis-oy said the transformation to digital
technology had not only strengthened their company’s operation but it empowered women.

Roselyn Dahilan, Finance Division Manager of Philex Mines ,said women with technical competency is an advantage, adding that even before the passage of the gender equality law , their
company have been supportive to the rights of women by giving them equal opportunities. Dalmaia Dino,Camp 3 (Tuba) Punong Barangayand Arsenia Addon, Community Coordinator for Crescent
Development and Mining Co. both shared their experiences as community leaders to mark agency’s women’s month with its theme-digital innovation technology for gender equality.

Dino whose barangay the host community of Philex , said years, knowledge in digital technology has strengthened their barangay programs. And Philex’ social development programs (SDMP) contributed in empowering women in their barangay. Dino who said that serving her barangay “is a sacrifice” revealed that for 2023, Philex has allocated some P9 million for its priority projects such as education. Addon for her part said that Crescent Dev. Mining’s SDMP projects have also capacitated women in their community.

She pointed out that through digital technology gave rise to more economic opportunities; improved health programs with increase support networks; increased safety with the introduction
safety applications; and social networking, among others. The Philippines ranked fifth most mineralized country in the world third largest deposits of gold, fourth for copper, fifth for nickel and sixth for chromite. In 2022, the country’s metal production up 32 percent marked by an increase in nickel valued at P117.58 billion while gold took the second spot with P90.95 billion while copper came in third.

Primo Agatep/ ABN

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