MANILA - Environment Secretary Gina Lopez made her final case before the Commission on Appointments on Tuesday, as legislators deferred their decision on her designation.
The CA adjourned without deciding on Lopez's case. It set another hearing at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Lopez has riled the mining industry when she ordered 28 mines shut or suspended and threatened to cancel 75 other contracts.
Last week, Lopez banned new open-pit mines, saying she was unsure of her stay in office.
"I just want to make some things really clear, I’m not against mining as an industry, 13 mining companies have passed the audit and my intention is to work together with them," Lopez said.
Lopez said she was willing to work with mining companies that comply with environment laws.
"Sometimes, I feel there’s an over-inclination to satisfy the business interest. The constitutional right of our people to a clean and healthy environment should take preeminence," she said.
Lopez showed to legislators a video of destruction wrought by mining on the environment.
The former yoga missionary had insisted on "social justice" in mining communities, where the environment is protected and the poor benefit from the gains of business.
Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato asked Lopez why mining companies were asked to deposit P2 million in a trust fund, saying this had no legal basis.
Lopez stood by the move, saying she was backed by a legal and technical team.
"I'm proposing another way of doing things. I'm saying if we don’t destroy our resources, our country will see the light of day," she said.