Gina Lopez accepts offer to head DENR
DAVAO CITY - President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he would not ban mining, as long as it followed environmental protection standards similar to Australia.
Mining stocks plummeted on Tuesday after Duterte offered the environment portfolio to Gina Lopez, a known anti-mining advocate.
Duterte said all mining contracts would be reviewed.
"I will not ban mining," Duterte told a gathering of several hundred businessmen here.
"Making money out of the precious metals of the Earth that belongs to the people, you have to do it right. If you can't do it right, get out," he said.
Lopez, chair of ABS-CBN Foundation, said on Tuesday night that she has accepted the offer to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) after a phone conversation with the incoming president.
She said she was not an enemy of the mining industry, adding that she wants to have a dialogue with industry stakeholders to address issues.
Lopez was offered the position during a courtesy call at the Presidential Guest House in DPWH Panacan Depot, Davao City on Monday afternoon.
She said she only met with Duterte on Monday to raise some concerns about the mining industry in the Philippines.
“I just wanted to give him some ideas, then he offered the position. Nagulat na nga ako eh. Sabi ko, 'Sir alam mo magiging controversial ako',” she told ABS-CBN News in an interview at Davao City’s airport on Monday.
Lopez said she admires Duterte for showing genuine concern for the environment and the welfare of farmers and fishermen.
Duterte considers the DENR post one of the most important in his Cabinet, as he seeks to end destructive mining in the Philippines.
The president-elect earlier offered the DENR post to the Left but later changed his mind. -- with a report from Abner Mercado, ABS-CBN
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