Duterte expresses support for Lopez ahead of CA hearing

MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday threw his full support for Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary-designate Gina Lopez ahead of the latter's confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments (CA).

In a speech in MalacaAang, Duterte asked CA members to closely consider the case presented by Lopez before deciding on the outcome of her confirmation.

"You just cannot ignore also the cries of Gina Lopez. I know that we get something like 70 billion in taxes sa mining. But you should also allow Gina to present her case. And I would like to ask Congress to They are up sa Commission on Appointments, tingnan nilang mabuti and she would show you how devastated the environment is," the President said.

He said that he himself saw the devastations caused by mining in Mindanao during his campaign sorties.

"If you'd listen to Gina present her case, this is not for her but you have to concede something also to the girl. Talagang nagtatrabaho and she has pointed out the so many factors that would eventually affect the environment of Mindanao," Duterte said.

"I know that we need the dollars but somehow we have to look at the other way, in a different perspective, kaya tignan ninyo," he added.

Lopez, who is up for CA confirmation Wednesday, is facing an uphill climb due to strong opposition from the mining sector.

The mining industry had protested Lopez's decision to shut down or suspend 28 mines as well as her threat to cancel about 75 mining contracts.

Duterte said he hoped that a compromise could be reached to balance mining and public interests to avoid disaster.

"She has a good case, Gina. And hopefully we can strike a happy compromise there but more I think, on the side of protecting the public interest," he said.

"We have to I think come up with a code or a set of whatever, protocol of how to go about controlling mining. We cannot be allowing diggings forever in the every nook and corner of the mountain ranges. It would spell disaster," Duterte said.

Source: Philippines News Agency