Lopez seeks Duterte meeting amid review on open-pit mining ban

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2017 11:11 AM

Lopez seeks Duterte meeting amid review on open-pit mining ban 1
A view of nickel ore stockpiles at a port in Sta Cruz Zambales in northern Philippines February 8, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA - Former Environment secretary Gina Lopez said Monday that she wants to talk with President Rodrigo Duterte as an inter-agency mining council studied lifting a ban she imposed on open-pit mining.

Lopez, whose appointment to the Cabinet was rejected by lawmakers, said surface mining pollutes watersheds and violates the right of Filipinos to clean resources.

"I wanna meet na nga the President e because he's mabait. I don't know who's telling him whatever... But if he's listening, sir if you're listening, open pit mining near river and streams -- which are eternal holes forever -- it's violating the Constitutional right of the Filipino," Lopez told radio DZMM.

"Mining is not a right, it's a privilege granted by the government. But the Constitution mandates that our people will not suffer."

Larry Heradez, chief of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau's legal division, earlier said the ban on open-pit mining has "no legal basis" and is under review.

Heradez also said that some of the 75 mining contract cancellations that Lopez ordered may end up being upheld due to "possible violations like non-payment of taxes and non-implementation of work programs."