Lopez as environment secretary to adjust to Duterte’s stand on responsible mining – Abella

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 June) – Gina Lopez, the ardent anti-mining advocate who is the latest to join President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte’s cabinet as environment secretary, will adjust to the responsible mining stance of the incoming administration.

Incoming spokesperson Ernesto Abella told a press conference Wednesday that he believes that the fact Lopez accepted the cabinet post, she will adjust to the possible mining policies that the administration of Duterte will implement.

At the last day of “Sulong Pilipinas: Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran”, a consultative meeting with the business leaders from June 20 to 21, Duterte warned mining firms that they will have to improve their practices, which include replanting of trees and safekeeping of their toxic chemicals.

“If you cannot do it right, then get out of mining,” he warned. “If you cannot do it I will cancel your permit. Maawa ako sa bayan ko,” he said.

In a message read by Abella, incoming Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Martin Andanar said that Duterte is committed to promoting a robust and dynamic economy that includes all sectors that contribute to its growth.

“The key word here is responsible,” he said.

Andanar said Duterte will replicate the responsible mining practices in Canada and Australia.

Mindanao Business Council (MBC) chair Vicente Lao, who presented the private sector’s recommendations along with Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PCCII) president George Barcelon, said they want the government to limit and gradually eliminate the export of mineral ore.

“Instead, they recommended a shift to value-added processing that would facilitate a strong domestic mineral products industry,” he said.