Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on Wednesday maintained her stance against destructive mining, despite being bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA) this week.
“Of course, a confirmation would have been better (so) I can really get things running, but [the] bypass also gives us more time,” Lopez said.
Among the programs in the DENR’s pipeline are alternative livelihood programs for displaced mining workers, rehabilitation efforts for damaged ecological sites, and the development of the biochar technology in the country.
Lopez said she is not keen on finding a “middle ground” with mining companies if it involves “damaging watersheds and agriculture.”
“Our country is not fit for mining because we are an island ecosystem… When you mine here, you kill economic potential literally forever, you can’t get it back again,” Lopez said.
Despite not getting the nod of the CA this week, the environment chief said the backing of over 40 million Filipinos on social media on her pro-environment policies proves that “people’s welfare should be non-negotiable.”
“It’s like we hit a groundwell of public opinion on people who really care about the environment… We will continue as long as there is massive support. The DENR has high hopes,” Lopez said. (K. Domingo, abs-cbn)