MANILA - On the heels of a quake that left 6 people dead and over 100 others injured in Surigao del Norte, President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez's order to close mines that have violated environmental laws.
"I have told Governor [Sol Matugas], if Gina orders the closure of a mine, I won't do anything," he said in Cebuano before residents of Surigao City, one of the worst-hit areas by Friday's magnitude 6.7 tremor.
"I think if they fail to reverse what they dug up, I will close all of them," he added.
Duterte also vowed to find livelihood for residents that will be affected by possible mine closures.
The President said he will return to Surigao and help the provincial government harness other economic opportunities, like the rubber and coffee industries.
Lopez, who has launched a nationwide audit of the mining industry, ordered the closure of 7 mines in Surigao del Norte earlier this month for allegedly polluting rivers and coastal waters, and denuding forests.