Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and the country’s mining industry have reached a common ground and decided to work together to promote responsible mining. ABS-CBN Foundation, Inc.
MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Gina Lopez and the country’s mining industry have reached a common ground and decided to work together to promote responsible mining.
Lopez yesterday met and engaged in a dialogue with top officials of mining companies.
“The purpose of the dialogue is to join hands with them because I know I really rocked the boat. But, I’m not doing this because I don’t like them, what I don’t like is that our people would suffer,” Lopez told reporters.
“I want to help them (mining industry) make things right and be on the positive side. I’ll be their friend and I will help them. What is non-negotiable to me is you cannot do anything there which would silt the rivers, silt the farmlands, silt the agricultural lands. I will be really strict,” she added.
Shares of mining companies facing the prospect of suspension plunged Tuesday following the release of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ industry-wide audit.
“At the end of the day, the Filipinos don’t know what stock market is. They want food on the table, they want to send their kids to college and make their place beautiful. My commitment is for the Filipino people not for the shares,” Lopez stressed.
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Meanwhile, Lopez countered claims that the audit was inconsistent and unfair, saying it was based on reality and not on biased information, as well as complaints against companies with infractions but still passed the audit.
“The infractions of those [who passed] were not grievous enough. Some of the infractions didn’t reach a scale which merited suspension. But even the ones that passed, I’ll still visit them,” she said.
Lopez is set to visit the mines of Semirara Mining and Power Corp., Rio Tuba Nickel Corp., Filminera Resources, SR Metals Inc., and Agata Mining Ventures, among others.
The Environment chief likewise admitted it would take time to achieve her goal of having a clean and responsible local mining industry.
“I want to have a good mining industry hopefully by December. But I cannot say that all will be solved by then because some are really worse and would need more time,” she said.