MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday marked Earth Day 2021 by reminding the public that a healthy nation depends on a healthy natural environment.
Earth Day "reminds us of our inherent responsibility to take care of our planet," Duterte said in a taped message played during a webcast.
He urged the public to "work with a new vigor" to make the Philippines "climate-resilient and climate-smart."
"As we recover from the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic on our lives and economy, let us always bear in mind that a healthy nation is anchored on a healthy and sound natural environment," he said.
Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
The President's Earth Day message came just days after he lifted a 9-year embargo on new deals for mining projects.
Mining remains a controversial issue in the country due to past examples of environmental mismanagement, and only 3 percent of 9 million hectares identified by the state as having high mineral reserves is mined.
Duterte has repeatedly criticized miners for polluting rivers and destroying forests.
The President has also pressed developed countries to cut carbon emission, a primary driver of climate change.
In 2018, he ordered the rehabilitation of holiday island Boracay, followed by that of Manila Bay the next year.