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Mining officials face arrest

Top executives of mining firms face arrest if they defy the closure order issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, President Duterte said yesterday.

The President advised mining firms to follow the closure order by DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to avoid such adverse consequence.

“If she orders the closure, you close or else I’ll have you arrested,” the President said in a televised public address in Davao City.

“I will not hesitate to arrest you,” added Duterte, who has criticized the mining industry for the critical damage caused on the environment.

Upon the orders of the President, Lopez has launched a crackdown on irresponsible mining companies in the country, ordering an audit of their operations. At least six mining companies have been suspended since the audit began last month.

The President earlier said the country could survive without the mining sector which he claimed is already a “sunset industry.” Duterte said he was ready to forgo R40 billion in annual revenues from mining industry for the sake of the protection of the environment.

As the DENR cracks down on firms violating environmental laws, the government intends to limit the issuance of new mining permits to save the country’s lands from further destruction, Duterte said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)