- Former environment secretary adamant on open-pit mining ban
- She vowed to oppose moves to remove ban, said it will harm the gov’t and the people
- She also shooed mining investors away, said they have placed PH at a disadvantage
MANILA, Philippines – An adamant Gina Lopez stood pat on her position against open-pit mining; saying she will continue to oppose any moves to reverse the order she made as environment secretary banning the practice.
“I want to create an unfriendly environment to the lifting of the ban by putting very clearly what open pit mining is to this country,” ABS-CBN quoted her as saying.
Lopez explained that open-pit mines are nothing but a liability to the government and people insofar as expenses and health are concerned.
“Open pits will be there forever. It will be a financial liability to the government because they need to be detox everyday and if you don’t detox them, they will get acidic and when they get acidic, they spill over into the rivers and streams so the ones taking the risks are the people there,” she said.
Lopez also told mining investors off; saying they have done more harm than good in the country.
“To the miners and people who want to come here and rape the country, and put holes here, and kill our rivers and streams, read my lips: Go away!” she said.
The environmental activist pointed to the current mining practices which have greatly placed the Philippines at a disadvantage — including seven years of no taxes and unfair sharing of revenue.
“We’re the only one. Come and rape us and you don’t have to pay taxes for 7 years. We’re the only one that gives 82 percent of net income. It’s crazy,” she said. “If you count the destructions to our natural resources and the monetary benefits of taxes it doesn’t add up.”