MANILA - Environment secretary Gina Lopez on Thursday urged mining students opposing her appointment to help government find "new and innovative" methods.
Three mining engineering and geology students told the Commission on Appointments to reject Lopez's nomination to her post, saying she lacked scientific expertise.
"I am more than willing to work with these students to work on new and innovative methods where the community doesn't suffer," Lopez replied to the students.
"My challenge to these students is to find some human engineering... Look into a way of mining which uses magnets to get the minerals," she added.
The students were among some 20 oppositors to the appointment of Lopez, who has ordered the closure or suspension of 28 mines.
"Hahayaan na po ba natin magmaneho ng sasakyan ang isang taong hindi naman marunong magpatakbo, at nagsasarili pa sa traffic rules?" one of the students said.
(Are we going to put someone behind the wheel when he does not know how to drive, and has been following his own set of traffic rules?)
But the environment chief said recent government audits were based on social justice and international standards.
"The problem with international standard is that it is only technical. It doesn't include social and economic impact," Lopez said.
"If you (students) can find a way to do mining there without causing suffering, I would be more than happy to work with you because you want to do something for your country," Lopez added.