Duterte bares Gina Lopez removed by big business ‘conspiracy’: I will make real her plan open-pit mining ban
A year after his former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez was rejected by powerful Commission on Appointments (CA), President Rodrigo Duterte bared a “conspiracy” by big business was behind her removal.
“When Ma’am Gina was removed by the Commission on Appointments. It was – maybe because she became very strong against the business in mining industry. I think there was a conspiracy to remove her. And they did,” Duterte said in his speech during Wednesday’s 31st founding anniversary celebration of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Quezon City.
“Well anyway, the rest is history. She was doing well. She was going against moneyed people and she was against the destruction of her native land,” he added.
Duterte described Lopez as passionate “in expressing your anger and your desire to save our country, the native land”.
During her term as DENR chief, Lopez drew the ire of the mining industry when she ordered the closure of over-mining sites that affect the water sheds and threatened to ban open-pit mining in the country.
In his speech, Duterte said he would ban open-pit mining which he said was “really destroying the land.”
“So I’d like to reiterate to you again what I said during the last meeting in the Cabinet that there will be a time, I still have time left, that I will have to ban open-pit mining. I will destroy it,” Duterte said.
Duterte said he told incumbent Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu that “there has to be a time that we have to decide just to tell them frankly”.
The President said they can find other sources of the PHP70 billion which the country gets from the mining industry.
“But open-pit mining is really destroying the land. It catches — it’s like a water basin. It catches the water. Loosens the soil. And every now and then, you have this landslide,” Duterte said.
He said the poor Filipino people living near the open-pit mining were helpless.
“The mining people know that I will really stop it. Maybe they’d try to revive it at some other time, but it’s not really my concern anymore. I’ll just do what I have to do during my time,” the President said. (PNA)