“Tama si Gina”: Duterte backs Lopez to stop open-pit mining

President Rodrigo Duterte on an interview in Taguig City on Tuesday expressed support with former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on stopping the open-pit mining in the Philippines.

“Tama si Gina. Yesterday, I asked General Cimatu, Secretary of DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), to look into the eventual closing of open pit mining. I agree with Gina Lopez that this has to stop sometime,” Duterte told the reporters.

“But I’ll give the mining companies enough elbow room … for eventual change on the modality of getting what’s inside the bowels of the earth.” Duterte added.

In a press conference last Monday, Lopez condemned lifting of open-pit mining ban and the governement should explain the proposes lifting of the current ban.

“It is a financial liability for life, and is it right that our taxpayers’ money, meant for our people, for food, for education, for our people, be used to address open pit? But if the mining company goes, what choice do we have?” she stated.

“If mining allows very rich people to get money at the detriment of farmers, public, it is an issue of social justice and against the Constitution, she added.

Lopez also explained that the existence of open pits violate the constitutional rights of the people to the clean and healthy environment.

“For whatever law or whatever legal thing they say, it is a violation of our constitutional rights,” Lopez pointed out.

During her time in the office, Lopez banned open-pit mining in the country, ordered some mines shut, suspended, and threatened to cancel other contracts. | Angelica Bobiles – PTV

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