MANILA-- An official of the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA)/Caritas Philippines expressed support for the policies of President Rodrigo Duterte on mining activities in the country.
Our office together with affected mining communities fully support this policy direction, said NASSA/Caritas Philippines Executive Secretary Fr. Edwin Gariguez in an interview.
With this, the Catholic priest urged the President to hire Gina Lopez and again be part of her former office, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Duterte should get Gina Lopez as his consultant or senior staff at DENR, he added.
At the same time, Gariguez noted that if the Chief Executive could not find a person who can fight lobbyist of mining companies, Duterte should head the agency.
"Lopez was rejected by Court of Appeals (CA). But we need a replacement who has the guts to go against the powerful lobby of mining companies, somebody who cannot be bought, he said.
Duterte himself should head DENR. Nobody is more capable, the NASSA/Caritas Philippines official added.
During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte warned those engaged in irresponsible mining and for mining companies to restore the environment or they will pay higher taxes.
Last May, lawmakers rejected the appointment of Lopez after serving 10 months in office.
The former DENR chief, a known environmentalist has ordered the closure of 22 mines in the country.
Source: Philippine News Agency