- DENR secretary claimed being offered P6M to keep a mine open
- She said DENR is corrupt, is committed to cleaning up the ranks
- She also promised to create eco-tourism jobs for miners affected by closure
MANILA, Philippines – Amid the shutdown of 23 mines following her closure order, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez bared being offered a P6-million bribe to keep one open.
“A friend went to me and then she said, ‘Gina if you sign this paper, the person who owns the mine, she didn’t tell me, will give me six million a month,’” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted her as saying.
Lopez, who declined the offer, said the culture of corruption is pervasive within the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and promised to clean up the ranks.
“Some of them are corrupt unfortunately. I’m cleaning up the workforce. If MGB (Mines and Geosciences Bureau) and DENR people were really honest, this wouldn’t have happened,” she said.
“That’s how it is. The governor, the mayor. All over the country, politicians have mining links that’s why mining has been allowed to flourish,” she added.
As for the thousands of miners affected by the closure, Lopez promised to generate ecotourism jobs for them.
“On the jobs, give me a year and a half,” she said. “A green economy can create more jobs than mining than they could ever imagine.”
Lopez then stressed that mining companies have been sucking the country dry, with the revenue earned going straight to their pockets and not to the communities affected.
“We’ve been mining this country for more than 100 years, what do we have to show for it? All the areas where we have mining are the poorest,” she said.
“Why not give mine communities a chance to breathe and create other kinds of jobs? I feel it behooves on government to make the right choice which could create the greatest common good,” she asked.