PGFI ups sustainability efforts for outlying communities

Philex Group Foundation, Inc. (PGFI) helps Philex Mining Corporation’s (PMC) outlying communities in Padcal through sustainable livelihood. Through PGFI’s partnership with Benguet State University’s College of Home Economics & Technology (BSU-CHET), they have set up the Meat Processing Training Program (MPTP) to equip their beneficiaries with the appropriate competencies in running a meat processing business.

Accordingly, after going through several assessments and an extensive 3-month training in entrepreneurship, new business enterprise organization and development, marketing, and pricing strategies, the Meat Processing Training Program produced its first batch of operator-trainers.

On May 15, 2014, the 15 MPTP graduates began work at the Padcal Meat Processing Business Center.  Established in 2010 under a previous partnership agreement between PMC and the Foundation for Peoples Development (FPD), the center has been under the supervision of PGFI since 2013.

The operator-trainers – all from Padcal and its outlying communities – are now part of the Px Community Foods and Marketing Inc. (PxCMFI).

As part of their strategy to empower the operator-trainers and further develop their skills not only in meat processing but also in running a business, PGFI designated one plant manager to oversee the meat processing operation, two quality assurance officers, one training coordinator, and one liaison officer from among the 15 graduates. The Foundation then supplemented their training with a tactical visioning workshop that developed and aligned the personal and collective goals of the operator-trainers.

“In terms of meat processing, the beneficiaries are doing very well. They follow strict standards to maintain the taste of the products. Likewise, they trust and follow the designated officers despite the fact that they are all from the same training class,” said Paul Buenconsejo, PGFI Executive Director.

Mr. Buenconsejo also shared that since the system is a new experience for the PxCMFI staff, it is understandable that there are apprehensions with regard to decision making. However, he believes that this will soon be addressed as they become more comfortable working together in a business environment.

In the long run, the operator-trainers will lead the Meat Processing Business Center as employees of PxCFMI. Through the Meat Processing Business Center, PxCMFI is projected to earn enough profit to help expand its operations in Padcal. As part of its sustainability efforts, PxCFMI plans to scale-up by tapping other meat processing business centers in Tuba, Benguet.


Operator-Trainers: Challenging but fulfilling!

Operator-Trainers Batch 1 officers (from L-R) Marjorie Sanidad, Lydia Tuginay, Irene Prado, Abigail Mongalini and Catherine Camacho recalled their experiences and shared their insights on the Foundation’s Meat Processing Training Program

Plant Manager Abigail Mongalini, whose father has been working in PMC since the 1980s, grew up in Padcal. Ms. Mongalini is proud that she can now give back to the community by being a part of PxCMFI. “I am happy because I learned a lot about meat processing. Our training did not only focus on the concepts of meat processing but also on entrepreneurship and marketing,” said Ms. Mongalini.

PxCMFI Training Coordinator Marjorie Sanidad and Quality Assurance Officer Lydia Tuginay echoed Ms. Mongalini’s statement, adding that their training has helped them identify the appropriate strategies for the business center.

Further, the operator-trainers shared that the skills they acquired are not only applicable to the business but also to their households. “For me, one of the most important contributions of the program is that it introduced us toCurrent Good Manufacturing Practices’ (CGMP). It ensures that our products are of high quality and fit for consumption. CMGP also helps us better understand the consequences of mishandled and ill-prepared food at home,” shared PxCMFI Liaison Officer Catherine Camacho.

Other than training on meat processing, entrepreneurship, marketing, and CGMP, the program provided personality development geared towards the holistic growth of the participants. “I am very blessed because I am part of this program. Apart from meat processing, they taught us valuable lessons about life, attitude, and personality. We also talked about building harmonious relationships with our co-employees. PxCFMI developed my leadership and interpersonal skills related to our business,” said Quality Assurance Officer Irene Prado.

All the operator-trainers were one in saying that PxCMFI has given them an opportunity to earn an income for their families and to be of help for their communities. With the plan of making them home-based meat processing trainers, their communities will benefit greatly by becoming processed meat producers and distributors of PxCMFI.

“PxCMFI creates a lot of opportunities; everyone has a chance to earn. This will apply to those who are home-based as well,” said Ms. Mongalini. “I believe that PxCFMI will also help the outlying communities by getting raw materials from them. With PxCFMI’s plan to get supplies like livestock and spices from the outlying communities, they too, will have an opportunity to make money,” added Ms. Prado. 


Product of their hard work: Karne Del Oro

As a testament of the operator-trainers’ hard work, PGFI launched its processed meat products in Padcal on September 1, 2014.  The meat products such as pork morcon, chicken pork roll, and chicken inasal will be marketed under the Karne Del Oro brand and will be available in Padcal through the Philex Mines Community Consumers Cooperative (PMCCC).

One of PGFI’s long-term goals is to recruit dependents of PMC employees to become external distributors of Karne Del Oro products. PGFI is also considering to partner with other cooperatives such as the Baguio-Benguet Community Credit Cooperative for the Karne Del Oro products to become available to the general public.

The operator-trainers at work in the Meat Processing Center in Padcal, Benguet

The new graduates of PGFI’s Meat Processing Program look forward to applying the concepts they learned in their training