Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Business wins, 'clobbered' Philippines environment chief says after ouster

Regina Lopez Regina Lopez Philippine Philippine environment minister latest news latest world news Philippine lawmaker says '50-50 chance' of Lopez keeping environment minister job
Kelvin Reese | 04 May, 2017, 01:36

Lopez was the second member of Duterte's cabinet dismissed by Congress.Congressman Ronaldo Zamora earlier told Reuters about the outcome of the vote, which removed Lopez.Lopez angered the mining sector after ordering in February the closure of more than half the country's mines and the cancellation of dozens of contracts for undeveloped mines to protect water resources.

In her brief tenure as environment secretary, Lopez campaigned hard against mining companies she believes had been sacking the environment and evicting communities to shore up their bottom lines.

Asked why the filing of the complaint coincided with the CA's decision, Kapunan said they were encouraged by the latest pronouncements from the environment chief that she would not be deterred by criticisms against her.

According to Recidoro, the mining industry's experience with Lopez is not really "a victory but more of a victory of due process".

Lopez said any replacement would "get clobbered" if they ran afoul of business interests.

"And when people make choices influenced and based on business, transgressing the right of every Filipino to whats has God has given them, it is wrong", Lopez said.

"VACC calls on the various non-government groups who are against illegal mining, logging, and fishing to unite and exhaust all legal means to protest the unjust and unfair decision of the Commission on Appointments", it said.

"It is the constitutional right of every Filipino to a clean and healthy environment", an emotional, at times angry, Lopez told reporters.

"If nothing is done now to preserve the country's environment and natural resources, it will not be done ever", Lopez said on Tuesday, shortly after lawmakers concluded confirmation hearings.

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Cayetano, an ally of Duterte, expects heated deliberations on Wednesday when members of the powerful Commission on Appointments votes on Lopez's fate.

"Lopez's rejection is a betrayal of the people, specifically of mining-affected communities who are protecting their lives and livelihoods by resisting destructive large-scale mining", Garganera said.

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Regina Paz "Gina" Lopez came down with guns blazing against the mining lobby that fought hard to block her nomination to the Duterte Cabinet.

Duterte had previously reappointed Lopez twice after she was bypassed by the CA. The same panel in March rejected Perfecto Yasay as foreign minister.

According to the complaint, when Citinickel was suspended in July 22 past year, they filed a Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP) with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MBG) to export mineral ores mined prior to the suspension date.

"Who suffers if you kill the environment?"

"It shows how the greedy politicians connected with big mining and logging corporations dominate the composition of Congress", the advocacy group said in a statement.

Global nickel and copper prices fell by just over 2.0 percent each in London trade on Wednesday, with financial services company Commerzbank saying concerns in the market about prolonged supply cuts in the Philippines had been allayed.

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