SouthCot’s social welfare chief resigns, joins mining firm

Lechonsito is an expert in community relations and disaster management and has been credited for the awards the province got in relation to social welfare and disaster response.

Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes said Lechonsito is a “great loss” to the provincial government, as the latter is one of the “most effective” department heads the provincial government has ever had.

“She was offered a salary too difficult to reject,” Fuentes said, adding the provincial government would soon tender a “goodbye” party for Ms. Lechonsito and another official who is retiring.

The firm reportedly offered  Lechonsito a salary of between P50,000 to P100,000 a month.

Lechonsito has submitted her resignation letter. Her resignation takes effect on December 31 this year.

Critics noted that the company’s recruitment of Lechonsito is a strategic move to contain the opposition of communities to the copper-gold project.

Anti-mining advocates, spearheaded by the local Catholic Church, has been waging campaigns in the communities against SMI’s operations.

The firm is gearing for a definitive feasibility study and expected to conduct full blast operations by 2011.  The firm is controlled 95% by Australian firm Indophil Resources NL. (MindaNews)