Rody affirms support anew for Gina
MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte has affirmed his support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, who has been at odds with the mining industry and some Cabinet members because of her recent moves, including her order to close mining companies that violated environmental laws.
Duterte said Lopez had told him she wanted the Philippines to become mining-free, but he told her that it could not be done without amending existing laws.
“Gina told me frankly, ‘I want the Philippines to be mine-free.’ I said how can we do that? We have to amend the law. There’s a mining law which allows mining. And besides, we get on the average P70 billion a year from these mining companies,” the President said during the launch of Cine Lokal in Pasay City on Wednesday.
“But I agree with Gina,” he added.
Duterte said one would pity the country if he sees the extent of destruction caused by mining.
“You have not seen it, but you might want to go to Davao one of these days. I have a friend, Archie Po, he is in the business of leasing airplanes, I can borrow one and you travel from Davao to Agusan to Surigao, maawa ka sa bayan mo (you will pity your country),” Duterte said.
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“Parang tansan, alam mo ang tansan…an may cork (It’s like a bottle cap...with a cork). That’s what happened to the farm lands… and it’s not a tunnel thing, it’s open pit,” he added.
“When it rains, popondo ‘yang tubig (the water will accumulate) and over time, it loosens the bowels of the Earth. And then you have landslide and everything.”
Lopez has ordered the closure of 23 metallic mines and the suspension of five others for “serious violations of environmental laws.”