The crazy idea may have come from their experience with the San Juanico structure, the bridge that connects Leyte and Samar. The municipality of Guiuan is in the eastern part of Samar and anyone traveling to Tacloban from Guiuan and back will have to pass through greater San Juanico.
Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp (NAC), is the mining company operating on Manicani Island, which falls under the jurisdiction of Guiuan.
“I salute the enthusiastic imagination of Manicani’s youth, because that’s what sparks progress, those crazy ideas», explains the engineer. Annamae Prongo, an HMC scholar originally from Manicani who now works as a mining engineer at another NAC subsidiary located in the Dinagat Islands – Cagdianao Mining Corp. (CMC).
HMC was recently granted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) which grants the company the right to mine to Manicani. And what comes with the MPSA is that HMC is mandated by law to develop the – Social Development and Management Program or SDMP – a comprehensive five-year plan that will help create self-sustaining communities with development programs designed in a manner consistent with the principles of responsible mining and sustainable development.
The Manicani youth wish list, which they wrote on large Manila papers during a recent community consultation, mainly includes scholarships for young people and jobs for their parents, as well as assistance medical care to older members of the community.
In addition, a fast and free WIFI connection; a volleyball court; a medical facility with a doctor and nurses and readily available medical supplies; a library with computers for research; free transportation for students; and yes, a bridge to connect Manicani to the mainland municipality of Guiuan.
Discussions about environmental protection at Manicani and the detailed scientific mining processes that will impact communities on the island are also hot topics and mining engineer Christian Centillas, another HMC fellow at Manicani , who now works as a mining engineer at CMC, is proud that his hometown youth are asking the right questions and demanding accountability, caring about the well-being of people and the environment.
“We help the young people of Manicani to understand the MPSA and the SDMP because they will be the mining company’s partners in the development of the island and because this means that they will have to understand where the funds will come from for all the items on their wishlist – but maybe not the bridge yetsays Centillas with a smile.