March 12, 2017 — President Rodrigo Duterte would rather be without mining, saying he is not convinced that the benefits outweigh the disastrous effects on the environment.
“We can live without it,” he said at the launch of the People’s Television Network (PTV) on Saturday in Baguio City.
Duterte said he would rather keep Environment Secretary Gina Lopez than the P70 billion being promised by the mining industry.
At the same time, however, the President said the government “does not intend to close the mining industry” because current laws allow it.
“It’s well nigh impossible because there is a law governing the operation of mining. Pagka may batas (If there is a law), 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.
“So ang mangyari niyan is the fait accompli (something that has already been decided before) diyan is you have to do works that Gina wants and she will reconsider her decision,” he said.
“But one thing is very clear, 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.