MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte told Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Monday to “go ahead” with her crackdown on mining companies that don’t comply with environmental safety standards.
Lopez has suspended six mining operations in the first month of the Duterte government and an audit of mining companies' compliance with the law is underway.
“Many are complaining of the appointment of Gina Lopez… Gina Lopez and I are just telling you to follow government standards. Do not destroy the environment. Follow it to a ‘t,’ wala tayong problema,” he said in his first State of the Nation Address.
Duterte acknowledged Lopez in the audience and told her to “amend, suspend or revoke permits” when necessary, adding, “Go ahead.”
Duterte said the police and the military would play a “support role” in the fight against illegal logging and illegal mining.