MANILA – The country’s main mining group on Thursday told lawmakers to reject Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s appointment, saying she was “unfit and unqualified” for the job.
Miners are not the “environmental rapists” that Lopez portrays them to be and the industry is among the country’s most “misunderstood,” said Chamber of Mines vice president for legal Ronald Recidoro.
“We oppose the confirmation of Miss Lopez as she has shown herself unfit and unqualified to be the government’s lead regulator,” Recidoro said.
Recidoro said Lopez insisted on an industry-wide audit even as some of the miners have secured ISO or international certifications.
Lopez “bypassed legal and administrative processes and disregarded the sanctity of contracts” by ordering the closure or suspension of 28 mines and threatening to cancel 75 agreements, Recidoro said.
The cancellation of contracts could spawn "hundreds" of contract disputes similar to government's dispute with the German builder of NAIA Terminal 3, Recidoro said.
"Cancelling contracts without due process and changing rules in the middle of the game frightens away quality investors," he said.
Recidoro also rejected Lopez’s stand against mining in watersheds and open-pit mining. He said such are allowed by law under certain conditions.
He also reiterated allegations the chamber was not given due process during the audit, with companies furnished individual results two weeks after its results were announced to the press.
Commission on Appointments, Chamber of Mines, mining, Gina Lopez, Department of Environment and Natural Resources