Cordillera Minera Forum panel


The Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera Administrative Region (MGB-CAR) hosted the first Cordillera Minera: A Forum on Women and Responsible Mining on April 1, 2022 at the MGB-CAR Conference Hall.  With the theme: “Elevating the Role of Women in Responsible Mining”, the Gender and Development Focal Point System (GFPS) of MGB-CAR endeavored to gather and share the stories of women stakeholders in the mining industry through a forum in partnership with the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera Administrative Region (PIA-CAR).  PIA-CAR regional director Helen Tibaldo hosted the program with MGB-CAR’s Information Officer as co-host.

Inspiring stories were shared by the panelists who came from the different mining companies and communities in the region and the top women officials of the regional mining bureau.

MGB-CAR regional director Fay W. Apil, one of the pioneer women geologists in the region stressed the importance of a woman’s touch in the industry. Engr. Virginia P. Briones, a mining engineer who heads the Mining Tenement Evaluation Section of MGB-CAR encourages women to pursue careers in engineering. Ms. Amy N. Ramos, an economist who heads the Social Development Section calls on women to apply for scholarship programs offered by mining companies under their Social Development and Management Programs (SDMP) for their host and neighboring communities.

Mining company representatives shared experiences that showed how their companies supported and empowered them in effectively doing their jobs in a male-dominated industry.

Engr. Marie Aurora Dolipas, a mining engineer for Philex Mining Corporation recounted how her male colleagues supported her leadership despite her being a woman.  Engr. Abegail Pis-oy, the chief electrical engineer of Itogon Suyoc Resources Inc. (ISRI) stressed the importance of their job in ensuring safety among their company and community.  Ms. Evangeline Espada, nutritionist for the Lepanto Hospital, highlighted Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company’s contributions to her career growth and development as a woman.  Ms. Jemimah Salayog who is an environmental scientist, related how supportive Benguet Corporation has been to them as she is already a third-generation employee of the company.  Ms. Lorena Galejo has been with the Purchasing Department of Benguet Corporation for many years shared that she had a tough job but was continuously encouraged with the company’s support.

The forum also allowed women from the mining communities to continually develop their leadership and organizing skills to contribute to the betterment of their barangays. Ms. Virginia Tamayo, a retired nurse, joined several organizations and became a strong woman leader.  Ms. Sandra Ramos of Philex communities led their cooperative to success and serves as member of the Multipartite Monitoring Team for Philex.  Ms. Elsie Wallang leads the association of weavers in their community at Irisan.

Ms. Viriginia Fausto, a retired principal, represents the small-scale mining sector. She serves as secretary for the Loacan Itogon Pocket Miners Association (LIPMA), the first Minahang Bayan declared in the region.

RD Apil in her closing message stated that there is still much work to do in espousing the women’s cause.  According to MGB-CAR employment data there are 618 females (9.4%) and 5,968 (90.6%) males working in the mining industry.  She hopes to see women getting into more jobs in the mining industry and taking on tasks previously handled only by men (i.e., backhoe operators and truck drivers).

MGB-CAR GFPS hopes to sustain this activity and ensure gender mainstreaming among mining stakeholders.

By: Sheila May V. Sanqui, MGB-CAR GAD Focal Person