BAGUIO CITY, Mar. 17 (PIA) -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called on the mining industry to be responsible miners and follow laws and regulations for them to be allowed to mine in the country.
Duterte, who led the inauguration of the People’s Television Network or PTV Cordillera Hub in Baguio City on Saturday last week, said his administration is not against the mining industry but he wants to have responsible miners operating and following the rules and regulations on mining.
That is why he is backing the position of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to close down mine companies who have violated mining and environment laws and regulations.
“We do not intend to close the mining industry. It’s impossible because there is a law governing the operation of mining. Pagka may batas, you allow it. Otherwise, if you want to do away with mining altogether you, abrogate the law or modify it to something else,” Duterte said.
The chief executive stressed he supports Sec. Lopez and her fight to a better environment and the protection of public interest.
“Gina has the passion for it and she wants compliance. She never said she is going to close permanently the mining companies so ayusin mo lang in accordance with the law. It is not Gina who is imposing the laws and regulations. It’s the law and the environment, the need for the moment to improve everything here,” he said.
“Ako, I cannot compromise the environment. That’s very clear. So I am with Gina because I want to protect the Filipino people. It’s all public interest. We protect public interest. Period. No matter who gets hurt and that is what Gina is doing. She’s not really concerned about who owns it. She’s not interested in their money. And she’s just doing it the way a Cabinet member should do and that is ‘yung trabaho,” he added.
The President said Lopez might give the mining firms that were ordered to cease their operations another chance if they abide by the rules and regulations pertaining to mining activities.
Lopez announced earlier the suspension of the 23 mining firms nationwide including Lepanto Mining Corporation in Mankayan and the Benguet Corporation in Itogon for alleged non-compliance with some laws and regulations in their operations.
Lopez’ appointment as DENR chief is still uncertain at the Commission of Appointment. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)