Gina Lopez on closing 23 mines: No politics, just for the common good of the people

  • DENR Secretary sticking to decision to close down 23 mines
  • She said no politics involved, is only thinking of the common good
  • Mining firms appealing closure order to President Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Environmental Secretary Gina Lopez stuck to her guns amid criticism from the mining sector; saying she only thought of the common good when she decided to close down 23 of the country’s 41 mines.

“I don’t do things because of politics. I don’t do things because I’ll get confirmed. It’s always for the common good of the people that is on my mind,” she told the Philippine Star.

Lopez said the closure will help heal the damage caused by the mines which were intolerably established in watershed areas anyway.

“We are not concerned with these business interests prompting extractive activities thus, affecting our water supply. Water is life,” she said. “If it is closure, I can then heal the land. It is closure because there is no way you can have any kind of mining in watershed areas.”

According to Lopez, the mining firms who were affected by the shutdown order should not paint themselves as victims since they were given ample opportunities to give their side but did not do so.

“They were given a chance to explain and conduct remediation measures. I even flew in the subject areas but they failed,” she said.

For their part, the Chamber of Mines in the Philippines (COMP) appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to lift the closure order.

“The secretary-designate has effectively established a mining moratorium in the Philippines, trampling on the Philippine Mining Act, a law that she had sworn to uphold and implement before the President of the Philippines,” the chamber said.

“She is creating an unstable policy environment resulting in threatening the economic growth momentum under the Duterte administration and putting in limbo $22 billion worth of investments,” the group added.