PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte supported Thursday Environment Secretary Gina Lopez in stopping the operations of some 21 mining companies in the country.

“I support her and there was never a time that I called her to slow down a little bit because at one hand is the strict implementation of the mining laws,” Duterte said in a speech delivered at the 38th National Convention of Philippine Association of Water Districts held in Davao City.

Earlier in the day, Lopez announced in a press conference that some 21 mining firms are facing closure because of “indiscriminate mining.”

Lopez said she would not tolerate mining companies to profit by putting the lives of other people at stake.

“I’m not against the mining industry but I’m against suffering. It is not right to make a lot of money with the detriment of the community. It’s not right. It’s against the mining law, it’s against the Constitution,” she said.

Duterte praised Lopez for being passionate in her job and ensuring that she is implementing “pro-poor policies.”

He said he would support the Environment Secretary as long as her policies are “fair and legal.”

“She’s so passionate not about the mining laws but about the little men on the land tilling. And she’s very adamant, and today, she’s insisting on the closure of the mining firms and I support her. She has pro-poor policies,” the President said.

Lopez announced mining companies facing closure were Benguet Corp Nickel Mines Incorporated, Ermane Minerals Incorporated, LNL Mining Incorporated, and Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation.

Mt. Sinai Mining Exploration and Development Corporation, Emir Minerals Corporation, and Techiron Mineral Resources Inc. would also have to stop its operations in Homonhon Island, Eastern Samar.

In Dinagat Islands, AAMPHIL Natural Resources Exploration, Krominco Incorporated, Oriental Vision Mining Philippines Corporation, Libjo Mining Corporation, Sinosteel Philippines HY Mining Corporation, Wellex Mining Corporation, and Oriental Synergy Mining Corporation were ordered to stop mining operations.

Adnama Mining Resources Incoporated, Claver Mineral Development Corporation, Platinum Group Metals Corporation, Hinatuan Mining Corporation, CTP Construction and Mining Corporation, Carrascal Nickel Corporation, and Marcventures Development Corporation located in Surigao del Norte would also be closed down.

Lopez also announced that the DENR suspended the mining operations of OceanaGold Phils Incorporated (Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya), Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (Mankayan, Benguet), Citinickel Mines and Development Corporation (Narra and Española, Palawan), Berong Nickel Corporation (Quezon, Palawan), and Ore Asia Mining and Development Corporation (Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan). (SunStar Philippines)