MANILA - Manny Pangilinan, the chairman of Philex Mining, on Wednesday said he respects the decision of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to choose known anti-mining advocate Gina Lopez to head the environment department.
"The elephant in the room is Gina Lopez, I apologize for the comparison but let me say this, it's entirely the prerogative of the president and we respect that," Pangilinan said.
He added that there is a need to push for responsible mining to help boost local exports, and benefit the economy.
Lopez has accepted Duterte's offer for her to lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). On Tuesday, she stressed her stance against mining.
WATCH: Why incoming DENR chief is against mining
Meanwhile, mining shares fell for a second day on Wednesday, with investors worried over the appointment of Lopez as environment secretary.
Pangilinan and Lopez, who is the chairperson of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, earlier clashed at a conference of mining industry stakeholders because of opposing views on preservation of habitats in identified mine-rich areas.