- Former DENR secretary seeking meeting with president amid review on open-pit mining ban
- She urged Duterte not to lift the ban, said doing so would prejudice the gov’t and public
- She also called out successor for playing it safe
MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez is seeking a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte amid a review of her order banning open-pit mining by the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC).
According to Lopez, a rescission of the ban would be prejudicial to the interests of the government and the Filipino people.
“I wanna meet na nga the President eh because he’s mabait. I don’t know who’s telling him whatever. But if he’s listening, sir, if you’re listening, open pit mining near river and streams, which are eternal holes forever, it’s violating the Constitutional right of the Filipino,” ABS-CBN quoted her as saying. “Mining is not a right, it’s a privilege granted by the government. But the Constitution mandates that our people will not suffer.”
Lopez added while she believes Duterte genuinely cares for the public, the people around him do not.
“I’m thankful that the President said that after Marawi, he’s gonna look at the mining sector, and he said that he won’t allow the people to suffer, but if he allows MICC to lift the ban, it’s gonna be really, really bad if MICC lifts the ban, and that’s my worry because it’s chaired by a person who used to be the lawyer of the mines, and the co-chair clearly has mining inclinations,” she said; referring to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Finance Undersecretary Bayani Agabin.
Lopez also called out her successor Roy Cimatu for playing it safe; saying he has been tiptoeing on the job to apparently avoid getting rejected by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA).
“You look at what happened to me, I didn’t get confirmed, so I think he’s playing it very careful,” she said.