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Lopez expected to soften stance vs mining – Abella

DAVAO CITY – Incoming Environment Secretary Gina Lopez will have to soften her stand against mining in deference to President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte’s position on responsible mining, according to the next administration’s spokesman.

“The fact that she accepted it, meaning she will adjust to it,” incoming spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters in a press briefing.

Before her appointment, Lopez was a staunch anti-mining advocate.

Reading four-paragraph statement issued by Incoming Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, Abella acknowledged that the mining plays a key role in the Philippines.

“The Duterte administration is committed to promoting a robust and dynamic economy, with every sector contributing to its growth… The key word here is responsible,” he said.

He cited the Duterte’s pronouncement at the second day of the “Sulong Pilipinas: Hakbang Tungo sa Kaunlaran” on Tuesday that mining firms will “have to do it right. If you cannot do it right, then get out of the mining.”

He said Duterte is also planning to apply the responsible mining practices in Canada and Australia to ensure the protection of the environment.

Duterte earlier said that there will be a massive review of the mining claims.

He also lamented that he wants trees be replanted in areas where mining companies used to operate and should not leave toxic materials.

“If you cannot do it I will cancel your permit. Maawa ako sa bayan ko,” he said.

Mindanao Business Council (MBC) chair Vicente Lao, who presented the other half of the recommendations of private sector to Duterte’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda during the two-day consultative meeting, said that one of the recommendations of the private sector is to limit and gradually eliminate the export of mineral ore.

“Instead, they recommended a shift to value-added processing that would facilitate a strong domestic mineral products industry,” he said. (ANTONIO COLINA)