BAGUIO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte clarified that his administration is not against the mining industry, but asserted that he is backing the position of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to close down mines found to have violated mining regulations.
In a chance interview with reporters on Saturday, March 11, following the inauguration of PTV 4’s Cordillera Hub, the Chief Executive said his administration is committed to enforcing the laws covering the mining industry as a whole, including honoring contracts entered into by the government.
He also urged affected communities to elect good leaders who will be able to tap into enterprising new sources of income especially once the administration initiates plans for a decentralized federal form of government.
“We do not intend to close the mining industry. It’s well nigh impossible because there is a law governing the operation of mining. Pagka may batas, you allow it. Otherwise, if you want to do away with mining altogether you, abrogate the law or modify it to something else,” Duterte said.
“So ang mangyari niyan is the fait accompli diyan is you have to do works that Gina wants and she will reconsider her decision,” he said.
The chief executive however clarified that he is backing Lopez’s position on closing down destructive mines, especially ones which have been in operation for some time.
“But one thing is very clear, Gina has the passion for it and she wants compliance. She never said she is going to close permanently the mining companies so ayusin mo lang in accordance with the law. It is not Gina who is imposing the laws and regulations . Its the law and the environment, the need for the moment to improve everything here,” he said.
“Ako, I cannot compromise the environment. That’s very clear. So I am with Gina because I want to protect the Filipino people. It’s all public interest. We protect public interest. Period. No matter who gets hurt and that is what Gina is doing. She’s not really concerned about who owns it. She’s not interested in their money. And she’s just doing it the way a Cabinet member should do and that is ‘yung trabaho,” he added.
The President likewise said he plans to tap into the government’s earnings from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to subsidize communities that may be affected by the mine closures.
He also said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ready to provide food assistance to those affected by the closure.
“I am ready to extend financial help to those who are displaced sa temporary closure,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, the President once again stressed that federalism could translate into a better way of life for those in the countryside.
President Duterte also commented on the criticisms connecting the administration with the incidence of deaths arising from the war on drugs.
“Well I disagree with the findings that the government is guilty or liable for those killings. We never do that. I am sure because I am willing to get the consequences,” Duterte stressed.
“There are a lot of human rights everywhere but they could be more circumspect and look at their own
backyard,” he added.
Meanwhile, the President said that he himself is against abortion.
“I am a proponent of family planning but I hate abortion. Di ko talaga pwede ‘yan…,”he said.
“I don’t know the state of mind of these guys promoting abortion and its not allowed under our laws and ako, I do not favor it. I hate it. But family planning, yes. Prevention of pregnancy,” he added.###PND