Duterte eyes total mining ban, backs embattled Lopez

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, March 13, said he is considering imposing a total ban on mining,

Duterte also asked mining companies to explain to him the extent of degradation of the environment caused by their operations.

"Kaya 'yung mga miners, mag-usap tayo dito, gusto 'nyo tayo-tayo lang, gusto 'nyo may media. Explain to me kung bakit ganito. Explain well to me bakit ganito. Explain to lawmakers such degradation [of the environment]," Duterte said while holding photos of denuded forests and contaminated rivers.

(Let's talk, if you want among ourselves, or if you want in the presence of media. Explain to me why the situation is like this. Explain well to me why. Explain to lawmakers such degradation of the environment.)

"Emir Minerals and Emir Minerals Corporation, explain to me how is this? Sabihin mo sa akin dito mag-harapan tayo. What have you done to my country? Kasi 'pag hindi mo ako sinagot, isampal ko itong papel sa mukha mo. Explain to me bakit ganito," he added.

(Emir Minerals and Emir Minerals Corporation, explain to me how is this? Tell me face to face here. What have you done to my country? If you don't answer me, I will slap your face with this paper. Explain to me why this happened.)

"What can your P70 billion do to our country? Nothing. Maybe it would be worth her while for Gina [Lopez] to reimpose the ban. Total [mining ban] muna tayo tapos mag-usap, dito magprangka-prangkahan tayo."

(What can your P70 billion do to our country? Nothing. Maybe it would be worth her while for Gina to impose the ban. Let's impose a total mining ban first then let's talk, let's be frank with each other.)

The President also said he has information that mining companies are funding the "opposition" to "destabilize" the government.

"I know mining is funding the opposition side... I know that some of you are giving money to destabilize [the government]," he said.

Duterte reiterated his support for Environment Secretary Gina Lopez, as he urged those against her appointment to convince him to "drop" her. (READ: 'I would rather follow Gina Lopez,' declares Duterte)

"Give me [a] redeeming [factor], something I can hang on to drop Gina. Walang redeeming factor," he said.

(Give me a redeeming factor, something I can hang on to drop Gina. There's no redeeming factor.) – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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