Dinapigue Mining connects with Agta tribe through med care

Dinapigue, Isabela — For the first time since the pandemic has restricted all mass gatherings in the communities, the Agta tribe came out full force for a ‘Dental-Medical Mission’ launched by the Dinapigue Mining Corporation — a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corporation.

The company launched the medical program for the Agtas, the Indigenous People of Dinapigue, on 17 August 2022, which is its way of connecting and bonding with the IP who are hosts to their mining operations in Dinapigue in the province of Isabela – a first corporate social responsibility outing by DMC as soon as the lockdowns due to the pandemic start easing out.

The medical team is composed of volunteer-doctors and healthcare workers from Southern Isabela Medical Center headed by Dr. Nezer Soriano and the volunteer dental team from Unciano College of Dentistry headed by Dr. Yoya C. Tarriela, former president of the Philippine Dental Hygienists’ Association.

The volunteer team offers free medical services as part of their personal social responsibility agenda.

“Our dental team has been doing this for almost six years now and what makes this mission interesting, other than giving back and paying forward, is that this is our first time tying-up with a mining company. The IP are so appreciative of the services we provide and that give us a feeling of fulfillment,” said Tarriela.

The Agta communities, who are known to be wary of medical procedures, welcome the visitors with open-arms and came out in groups for dental procedures, especially the children, as well as for general medical check-ups.

The DMC medical mission provides the much-needed healthcare to the IP and other residents of Dinapigue who often find it a challenge to avail of regular medical care due to the remoteness of the area.

Edicia Vetriolo, a member of the tribe from Barangay Digumased, said that she and her husband and children appreciate medical missions like this because the IP need this whether they admit it or not.

The Agtas are the primary beneficiaries of the Mission but the services extend to the non-IP residents who also availed of health assessment through medical consultations and dental care. A total of 247 patients receive the benefits from the day-long medical mission.

The medical team has five volunteers from SIMC and five volunteers from Unciano College of Dentistry plus the volunteers from the LGU headed by Dr. Reygene Caratiquit and the DMC team headed by the company dentist, Dr. Melvin Dionisio.

Funded through DMC’s Corporate Social Responsibility program, the Medical and Dental Mission is the first event organized in Dinapigue since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

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