A Woman Lawyer mining with Passion, Commitment and Care
KORONADAL CITY - As the world commemorates the 2023 International Women’s Month, people in south-central Mindanao have good stories of empowered women they are proud of.
One of these women is a lawyer, Stella Joy Segocio, who has a different kind of work, one that made her quite sensational in Region 12 and provinces outside.
Segocio is the head of the legal division of the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) and, as such, plays a key role in ensuring the firm’s compliance, in letter and spirit, to the numerous laws, rules and regulations governing mining in the country.
“Ultimately, as a woman, my maternal instinct comes out to protect my child’s future, to make sure she has trees, clean water, clean air and nature to enjoy and nurture her, and a community and country to sustain her with resources and public services – that’s the essence of my existence. For mining to be sustainable and responsible, we have to conform to the laws and be compliant. And that is why I am working so hard for SMI and the Tampakan Project.”
She gained popularity in Region 12 for her role in highlighting the importance of SMI’s planned mining operations in South Cotabato, with Malacañang’s imprimatur, that will lead to the socio-economic growth of the local communities and the generation of revenues essential to the expansion of the health, education, infrastructure and social welfare programs of national and local governments.
Segocio was instrumental in securing a recent ruling from the Court of Tax Appeals that blocked the supposed levy by the Municipality of Tampakan of some P400 million worth of tax as requisite for a business permit.
She once worked for the transnational company Dole Philippines and had extensive exposure in handling civil and criminal cases, too. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree, major in Psychology, from the Ateneo de Manila University and studied law at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
Many women in Tampakan’s ethnic Blaan community, among them tribal leader Bai Dalena Samling, had expressed admiration for Segocio.
“Soon, someday, we shall have someone from our tribe – a Blaan woman – with her caliber. A good, intelligent lawyer,” Samling said.
The national government has contracted SMI to explore, develop and operate the copper deposits in the mineral-rich ancestral lands in Tampakan, South Cotabato. The Blaans in Tampakan have given their consent to the planned extraction of some US$200 billion worth of copper and gold underneath the lands in their ancestral domains in Tampakan, not too distant from Koronadal City, seat of South Cotabato’s provincial government and the regional center of SOCCSKSARGEN.