While announcing that he was considering a total mining ban, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused some mining firms of financing the political opposition to undermine his administration, The Manila Times Online reported on Tuesday.
I know you are funding the opposition side. I know that some of you are giving funding to the other side to destabilize me, Duterte told reporters at a press conference in Malacanang.
The president made the statement as he defended Environment Secretary Regina Paz Gina Lopez for ordering the closure of mining firms found to have violated mining regulations.
On Saturday, he said he was willing to lose P70 billion in mining tax revenues, as he reiterated his support to the anti-mining position of Lopez.
Showing photos of the ill effects of destructive mining, Duterte said: Look at what mining does to our country. Is Gina a liar? No, I don’t (think so). It is difficult. (The environment was once) green. So where are the trees that God gave us? Where’s the environment that God gave us?
Duterte dropped some names of the erring mining firms namely CitiNickel Mines and Development Corp, OceanaGold and Banguet Nickel Mines.
The president said there was no deeming factor for him to favour erring mining companies and give up Lopez as environment secretary.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)