DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Despite backlash from the mining industry, Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez on Tuesday said she remains confident that the support of the Filipino people were with her.
In an ambush interview with reporters posted on Facebook Live by Rappler, Lopez said she still trusted “in the power of truth” despite the pressure coming from the mining industry.
Lopez’ confirmation with the Commission on Appointments currently faces 23 sworn oppositions. Lopez is set to face CA’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources at 10 am on Wednesday.
“I know the people are with me, everywhere, even in Surigao. I have a plan. Sigurado akong pwedeng alisin ang kahirapan sa bansa. Pwedeng pwede. Pero kailangan ang may pakinabang ay ang tao. Ang problema sa mina naghahakot sila diyan peor ang pera lumalabas sa lugar. Walang pakinabang ang tao dyan, it’s not good at all”
(I’m sure we can eradicate poverty in the country. We can really do it. But the people should benefit [from the country’s natural resources]. The problem with mining is that they are hauling everything off but the money is going out of the community. The people do not benefit from it. It’s not good at all), Lopez said.
When asked how she would face her critics during her hearing, Lopez said she would just “tell them the truth.”
“I’ll tell them the truth. If it’s the displaced mine workers, I’ll tell them the truth. Maybe they’re opposing because they don’t know everything,” Lopez said.
The interim DENR secretary however, expressed fears that the CA’s members may already be biased against her as some some of them have vested interests in mining.
“My worry is that there are some CA members are into mining. That’s a bit scary In fact, the head of the committee on appointments in congress is a miner himself. They own five mines. I hope he makes a decision based on the common good and not on business,” Lopez said.
Lopez is referring to San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, whose family owns Nickel Asia Corporation, one of the biggest mining companies in the country.
Lopez also said the right thing for CA members who had interests in mining to do would be to inhibit themselves from the ruling.
“You cannot make decisions out of your own pocket. It’s wrong, it’s morally wrong. Whoever is there should make decisions based on the common good. Not on your negosyo” (Not on your business), Lopez said.
Lopez also singled out two national broadsheets for being owned by miners. Lopez had been asked whether she could feel the pressure coming from the mining industry.
“Oh yes! My goodness gracious. Just read the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Manila Standard, they’re owned by miners. The lies they’ve put out, it’s very sad,” Lopez said. (davaotoday.com)