MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused some mining firms of financing destabilization moves against his government.
In a news conference in Malacañang, Duterte said mining firms, which he did not name, were funding the opposition to undermine his government.
“Kayong mga mining, I know you are funding the opposite side. Alam ko na ngayon kung sinong gumgastos sa kanila. I know that some of you are giving funding to the other side to destabilize me. If the police and military will allow it, it’s their problem,” Duterte said.
Duterte issued this statement amid the heated debate over Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s decision to close down 23 mines and cancel mineral sharing agreements.
The Commission on Appointments (CA) may decide on her appointment this week before Congress goes on a break.
Lopez has faced strong opposition from groups benefiting from the country’s mining industry. She said mining only benefits the few and destroys the environment.
During the news conference, Duterte again came to Lopez’s defense, saying the latter is telling the truth.
“Is Gina a liar? No, I don’t [think so],” he said.
“How can you argue with Gina when she is presenting, confronting you with a visual thing? Kami dito, it appalls us na kung mag-lobby-lobby kayo ng mining dyan, gusto niyo ako palitan na president na paluhurin niyo, to do your bidding,” he added, as he held pictures of mining sites supposedly showing massive environmental destruction in several parts of the country.