MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday again stressed his support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, as he slammed mining firms that are destroying the environment.
Reciting a list of firms which he said were engaged in destructive mining, Duterte said he sees no reason to withdraw support for Lopez, whose appointment has faced strong opposition from mining groups.
The president said, there is no compelling reason to drop Lopez, adding that mining firms would find it hard to justify the environmental destruction they have caused.
“Give me a redeeming factor. Give me a redeeming -- something which I can hang on to to drop Gina. Walang redeeming factor,” he said.
Duterte also said he is mulling on imposing a total ban on mining.
Lopez has ordered the closure of 23 mining companies and the suspension of 5 others, but her decision is being reviewed by an inter-agency council.
Duterte also accused some mining firms of funding the opposition to undermine his government.
“Kayong mga mining, I know you are funding the opposite side. Alam ko na ngayon kung sinong gumgastos sa kanila. I know that some of you are giving funding to the other side to destabilize me. If the police and military will allow it, it’s their problem,” Duterte said.
The Commission on Appointments is scheduled to take up her appointment this week. An executive caucus is set to be held tomorrow and a plenary session on Wednesday.
In case she is bypassed, the president would need to issue another ad interim appointment for Lopez.