MANILA - Former environment secretary Gina Lopez on Monday appealed to her successor, Roy Cimatu, to keep the ban on open-pit mining, as she warned that lifting it would add to the suffering of the poor.
The inter-agency Mining Industry Coordinating Council is set to meet this week to discuss whether or not to lift the ban imposed by Lopez, a staunch green advocate.
"Don't lift the ban it's the duty, tungkulin ng pamahalaan to take care of the people. If you lift the ban, I'll tell you our people will suffer, it's only the rich making the money," Lopez told DZMM.
Lopez said she was hopeful President Duterte would side with the people, no matter what the MICC decides.
"Siya ang may kapangyarihan. I'm still hopeful. Sa tingin ko, nafi-feel niya 'yung the suffering of people and matapang siya. He doesn't care about anything," she said.
(He has the power. I am still hopeful. I think he feels the suffering of the people and he is brave. He doesn't care about anything.)
While mining is provided for under the Constitution, Lopez said it did not specify open-pit means.
"Ang na-specify ng constitution is the right of our people to a healthy ecology," she said.
(What is specified under the Constitution is the right of our people to a healthy ecology.)
"Iyung open pit lahat sila malapit sa ilog, malapit sa streams, all of them will be there forever. Sino magaalaga nyan? Hanggang ngayon wala pa silang nakita na open pit na narehabilitate," Lopez said.
(Open pits are near rivers, near streams, all of them will be there forever. Who will take care of that? Up to now, they have not shown an open pit that has been rehabilitated.)