MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday warned mining companies to strictly follow tighter environmental rules or shut down, saying the Southeast Asian nation could survive without a mining industry.
“We will survive as a nation without you,” Duterte told a media briefing, referring to the country’s miners. “Either you follow strictly government standards or you close down.”
It was the boldest statement yet from Duterte against domestic miners that he warned in the weeks before he took office on June 30 to “shape up” and to “stop spoiling the land.” The Philippines has so far suspended the operations of seven domestic nickel mines for failure to comply with environmental regulations.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez, who began an audit of all mining sites on July 8, last week vowed to close more operations as public complaints mount against those causing environmental destruction.
“You try to castigate Gina Lopez for being strict, and yet you destroy the land, destroy the soil, and then you get rich,” Duterte said, again referring to miners without giving names.
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