Philippine lawmaker says ’50-50 chance’ of Lopez losing environment minister job (Reuters U.S. – May 2, 2017)

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There is a 50 percent chance that Philippines Environment Secretary Regina Lopez may lose her confirmation vote after holding the position for nearly a year, said the head of the country’s Senate environment committee on Tuesday.

“It’s still a 50-50 chance for Gina,” Senator Manny Pacquiao, chairman of the committee, told reporters after Lopez gave testimony at a committee hearing, referring to the minister by her nickname.

Congressional confirmations in the Philippines typically happen months after ministers start work. President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Lopez on June 30, 2016. Lawmakers will vote on her fate on Wednesday.

Lopez, a committed environmentalist, angered the mining industry after ordering the closure of 22 of the Philippines’ 41 mines in February to protect water resources in the world’s top nickel ore exporter.

She later canceled dozens of contracts for undeveloped mines and just last week banned future open-pit mining projects as she tightened her crackdown of a sector she blames for extensive environmental damage.

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